When you make plans to visit somewhere new, what do you do? Not sure what your routine may be, but I can only assume it’s not too far off from mine, or countless other internet-wielding people all over the world.
I’m searching for places to stay, eat, drink, sightsee. All with the guidance of Yelp or Trip Advisor or Airbnb or Untappd or pretty much any of a dozen different places to find comments and reviews from strangers. In small increments, these things continually add up, forming some full idea of what I’m supposed to do in this new place.
It’s scary to go to an unknown location and just simply feel OK with existing clueless in a strange land. Good thing that’s not the case anymore.
We all want to be experts.
The biological wiring that sends synapses from our brain all over our body shows a physical reaction when that’s not the situation. Lost in mind or geography, our breath or sweat reminds us.
It’s not a defect, necessarily, but a response to a very natural desire. It feels good to be someone who knows things, even if it’s just for yourself. For good or bad, it’s now all too easy to increase that pressure in all areas of our lives. When endless information is literally at our fingertips, what’s stopping us from knowing as much as we can as often as possible?
And when that doesn’t connect to our actions or interactions with others, are we to blame?
If we can all be experts, what happens when we fail, even a little?
Like life, beer is an experiential good. There are good and bad times, and, really, we’re just trying to learn along the way. What we like. Who we can trust.
With beer and people, there’s always a fear of failing. Hell, if you’re not, you’re not trying, I suppose. If you have to *do* something to learn and grow, there’s no time like the present and there’s no better way than to fail.
One of the scariest things, for me, at least, is to forget. And not outright not remember because some piece of information was lost to my mental ether, but a lapse in brain function. Or a distraction. We condition ourselves to pay attention as best as we can to what matters the most, but we’re always doomed to fail. There’s going to be a moment in time when a thought goes blank or a response is a dud. We’re not bad people for it. We’re just human.
But we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves back up, right Mr. Wayne?
This is all pretty dramatic, and there is undoubtedly more nuance to this spectrum of success and failure, but at the center of it all is our unrelenting interest to be that expert. To always know – but also to have others know about us or the things around us. And if we can show them, it’s a tangible sign of how we care. I think. Or maybe I’m just forced to believe.
We have websites and dating apps and communities real and digital specifically built to connect us with the exact person or thing we like. We want to be an expert and we can surround ourselves with them, too!
Failure is not an option or it’s just the first step in finding 10,000 ways that won’t work. All depends on your perspective, I guess. And your willingness – and sometimes happiness – in metaphorically falling on your face.
It’s embarrassing and threatening and can cause anxiety and sweat. But it’s also enlightening and exhilarating and meaningful, to all the experiences we have and people we get to know.
Failure is bad, until it isn’t.