The female who had the greatest impact on my life, without doubt, was my mother, a nuclear mathematician employed by the Atomic Energy Commission in Idaho Falls, Idaho. A single mother with two young children to raise after her husband left for another woman, she taught me two stringent lessons that have remained with me ever since:
No excuses for not trying. Failure is acceptable, but not trying is not. Repeated failure (pace Samuel Beckett) brings growth and progress. Those who succeed in life have failed many times, so learn strategies for better trying and reward yourself for attempts rather than outcomes. Worry about the effort and the results will take care of themselves.
Take responsibility for yourself. Life will deal periodic hardships and traumas, but only you can create and sustain your life. So don’t push the blame off on others or hide your head in the proverbial sand. If you screw up, own it and don’t lie about it. Lying shovels off responsibility, and its most corrosive effect redounds ultimately on your self and your integrity.
These two lessons formed a key part of my mother’s scientific, no-nonsense world-view. They did not blend at first with my more lyrical, philosophic sensibility, but through the years her legacy has pushed me to become better by far than I otherwise would have in a cocoon of self-justification.
Causes David Radavich Supports
Human rights world-wide, ecology/conservation, historic preservation