Punt an Ostrich

Time to face the fear. Whether you fear or merely have a healthy respect for death or failure, facing the music is the only way to overcome them and live better.

A warped perception.


What a great target.

It is a tough place to live. Rose-colored glasses make lots of situations look better than they truly are, but in the end, reality tends to crash the party. Pretending to be an ostrich is another popular technique to (not) face reality. This posture leaves the posterior vulnerable. So, what is the better way?

Knowledge is power.

When it comes to both death and failure, one thing should be blatantly obvious: It will happen. Regardless of wishes to the contrary and millions of sanitized profiles with magnificent pictures, no one is perfect. Every one of us has faults and has failed at something…more than once. Only in embracing the failure to we become better.

Death is no different. Fearing the inevitable is a fruitless waste of vitamin C. While suggesting embracing death may well give readers the wrong impression, let’s say we should recognize death.


Keep your fingers out.

Embracing failure is not seeking failure. Instead, it is owning the failure, recognizing the mechanics of it and learning how to avoid it in the future. In the simple example of fire, anyone can learn not to put their fingers into the flame.

In the complex world of relationships, anyone can learn not to get involved with someone who is poisonous. (If readers need advice on how to determine which partners are poisonous, comment. They have special markings like snakes.)


The concept should not be lost on you: Death is inevitable.

Despite cryogenic research and the advanced state of medical sciences, death is prescribed for the average human between the ages of 67 and 82. Notable differences in age at time of death are attributed to diseases and consequences to both healthy and imprudent behaviors, but the average person enjoys around 75 years on the Earth.

In recognizing the concept, the goal becomes: Make every day count.

Combination Platter

The marriage of the engaging and recognizing produces a powerful outlook. First, you are able to see the advantage in what appears to be adversity. Second, you are able to positively affect change.

Take a step back from the cloud. Focus on the light.

Column A

It does not take an eternal optimist to see the silver lining in the cloud. Failure is nothing but a cloud. If you do not dissect it and remove the silver, it will settle on the ground to be a fog which encases you. Instead of letting it fuzz your vision of the future (or completely obscure it), take one step back. Focus on the light.

From this vantage point, you will better be able to see the events which landed you in the fog bank. You will also see the edges of the cloud. Grab the silver, head for the lighted path and skirt the failure. Now you have choices: Use the silver to buy better navigation equipment or craft better defenses.

Column B

Before you reach the end of the road, you will have accomplished many things. Some of those things make you giggle and wonder what you were thinking. Some will make you hang your head. Still others will bring a triumphant exhilaration. Rather than fear the inevitable, make more victorious moments.

Victory comes in many forms. Choose as many as you like:

  • Celebrate your own and your grand/children’s successes.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Appreciate from where the love in your life comes.
  • Laugh.
  • Engage others.
  • Help those who need it.
  • Make a monument.
  • Help yourself.
  • Be kind.
  • Forgive, especially yourself.
  • Love someone.
  • Care for an animal.
  • Donate.
  • Learn something.
  • Teach someone.
  • Recycle.
  • Leave a legacy of charity.
There are many more things you can do to build your confidence, self-esteem, relationships around you, your legacy and memories. Do not get caught up in fearing something you cannot change. Have the courage to change the things you can.

The Fortune Cookie

The following poem sums up this message. Whether you attribute this poem to Robert H. Smith, Ette Johnson or Wilfred Grindle Conary, the message is still the same.

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
So Live, Love, toil with a will —
Place no faith in ‘Tomorrow’ —
For the clock may then be still.

What do you do to build your memories and legacy? Do you have something specific you want to do in your life? What do you want to do you have not done? When are you going to start?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. I thought you were going on vacation? I’m glad you are still posting, though!

    • I did, C! I just scheduled the posts to go live while I was doing important things like getting a massage and swimming! 😉

  2. To put things into perspective, within 200 years (allowing for improvements in medicine, technology, etc.) every human being on this planet as of THIS very moment in time– will have died. That knowledge does not diminish the fear of dying for some, perhaps, but be aware that
    “In dying, we are in good company” i. e. the rest of the human race.

    What to leave behind as a legacy? Writings, artwork, special skills special knowledge and understandings of life. The ability to THINK. Leaving pleasant memories, gentleness, kindness, charity, — the teachings of good, solid human values to our children and grandchildren –so they can pass them on–are perhaps even more valuable and long-lived as a legacy.
    I am doing what I wish to do. I have peace of mind.

    • Good on you. I believe passing on humanitarian values trumps a building every time. Even the Pantheon crumbled.

  3. I spent my life doing good deeds, caring for the sick, the troubled and many youngsters who are now such wonderful adults I am proud I had a part in their development as people.

    When all that was taken away and debased I tried to take my own life and failed through no fault of my own.

    Despite all that was done to me that legacy remains and I know that when I die I will be well remembered, if only for a little while…

    God Bless!


    • I think the length of time we are remembered is irrelevant. As long as one remembers, even in a fleeting thought, it is enough. {HUGZ} Red.

  4. I like that on the ‘victory’ list is ‘forgive, especially yourself.’ We often put others’ needs before our own. We are harder on ourselves than others. I am going to try to practice what I preach and be kinder to myself. As you write, we do all make mistakes. Accept and move forward.

    • True, Christy. It is harder to forgive ourselves because, unlike when others hurt us, we cannot put distance between ourselves and the hurt we cause…we are always where we are. Profound, eh? Bear said it on another post, as long as we learn and do not repeat, we win. Red.

  5. Christy B, “forgive, especially yourself” is one of the most precious tenets in successful living. Mistakes are universal. I’m guessing we should all do some of that–reflect, and move on. “:)

    • I see there are more of us on the same page for this one. I just made a similar comment 😉 Mayhap, there is a post to be born of this.

  6. I want to dance naked in the forests of Azure during a typhoon-class thunderstorm! I want to go camping in the depths of the Gobi Desert and go for a long walk on the bottom of the deepest reaches of the South Atlantic Ocean. And, just like all others who live or have lived on this wondrous blue planet, I want people to stop taking the planet for granted and to start treating it the way it has treated them, with life!

    • That is an interesting bag of wants! And I wish more people cared about the planet, even in little ways. There is such a plethora to discover if you only take the time to stop, look and listen to the world around you.

  7. bear

     /  January 12, 2012

    I enjoy helping those who need help. I have tried to be a teacher of life. I have done a lot of things in my life, and have been mostly successful, but my most cherished moments are with my children. I have tried to show them how to live life without fear or reservation.

    • Children are by far our greatest resource (and the pickers of our nursing homes…lesson in that). I think it is a lesson too often foregone by parents in the throes of “providing”. Sadly, providing is the easy part of parenting.

  8. Ted

     /  January 12, 2012

    Self forgiveness is easier said than done in some cases. I have made many mistakes in my 53 years and have forgiven myself for all of them but one. Hopefully with time I will be able to forgive myself for it also. I have had a business fail and put my families economic status in peril. For that I have forgiven myself. I have made many other dumb moves and have forgiven myself. I fathered a child with a married woman while I was married myself. I deeply hurt a kind decent caring woman that did not deserve to be treated in such a way. It has been over two years and as of yet I have not forgiven myself. I swore I would never do such a thing yet in a week depressed mood I made a horrible decision and hurt not only my wife but the other woman’s husband and family as well. How does one go about forgiving their self for such a act. While I have come to grips with many aspects of this situation the hurt that my decision caused this lady I have not come to grips with. She says she has forgiven me and I have no reason not to believe her. Now how do i forgive myself.

    • The biggest part of self-forgiveness is acknowledging.

      ~We knew better, but did it anyway.
      ~We messed up, but cannot clean it up.
      ~Even when the big parts are picked up, someone else had to do it.
      ~The burden was uneven.

      Instead of focusing on what cannot be done, focus on what has been done. Be grateful for the help you got in cleaning the mess. Learn to better respect the boundaries you create. If you have been forgiven by the one you feel you wronged, you are doing that person an injustice by belittling the forgiveness with your own unforgiveness. Forgiving yourself in this instance is a matter of respect.


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