My To-do list never emptied. I felt like I was swimming against a relentless tide—sometimes lying awake, almost panicked, thinking, “I can’t afford to be awake, I need to sleep so I can get up and get things done”. Then one day I heard a preacher say, “Only God gets his to-do list done”—and the lights went on. Of course! I’m finite, with limited time and limited resources—I can’t do it all. And it isn’t my job to do it all.
There isn’t much about failure to enjoy. Depending on what it is—giving away a penalty in the last second of a semi-final and costing your side the game, a moral failure that trashes a family, exam results that leave you far short of the grades you need, an investment failure that impacts many lives—some have a heavier weight attached than others.
I’m not writing about those heavyweight fails. I’m writing about something less, yet like an acorn it can grow into something bigger.
We live in an era of unprecedented focus on perfection. Sure, in every age perfection has been the goal, but the front door was your defence—now with social media all of life is public. And it must be perfect. We have to look perfect, take the perfect photograph with the perfect filter, and caption it with the perfect phrase.
I’ve been reading a book by journalist Will Storr called ‘Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed’.