Is Success Your Dinosaur?

Dinosaurs! What an amazing topic. Mysterious, somewhat mythical, and in the context of personal growth – relatable. Don’t believe me? Hang in there. 

First of all, let’s lay out some factoids:

• The word dinosaur comes from the Greek language and means ‘terrible lizard’. The word was coined by English paleontologist Richard Owen in 1842 and was meant to refer to Dinosaurs impressive size rather than their scary appearance.

• Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for over 160 million years, from the Triassic period around 230 million years ago through the Jurassic period and until the end of the Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago.

• The time period from 250 million years ago until around 65 million years ago is known as the Mesozoic Era. It is often referred to as the Age of the Dinosaurs because most dinosaurs developed and became extinct during this time.

• It is believed that dinosaurs lived on Earth until around 65 million years ago when a mass extinction occurred.

• Scientists believe that the event leading to the extinction may have been a massive asteroid impact or huge volcanic activity. Events such as these could have blocked out sunlight and significantly changed the Earth’s ecology.

• The first dinosaur to be formally named was the Megalosaurus, back in 1824.

• A person who studies dinosaurs is known as a paleontologist (Or as I call them, Ross)

Look at us! Learning things, growing our minds, we are magnificent.

When I think of a dinosaur; my mind automatically goes to the T-Rex. I think of the pictures I have seen of their skeletons displayed in museums, the memes I have laughed at, and the fact that they are dead. Morbid, I know. The truth is we have never seen a live dinosaur. We never will. They are gone. Yet, they live on in stories, movies, pictures, and museums. I know intrinsically what a dinosaur is even though I have never seen one.

And that got me thinking about success and failure. (It’s a beautiful thing how my mind works)

Like two sides of a coin, both successes and failures work together throughout our lives. We cannot have one without the other. Yet, for the vast majority of us, we only focus on one. The happy shiny one.  

From a purely scientific point of view, how would you rate the dinosaur’s ability to adapt? Do we classify them as failures? After all, they did die off.  

Wouldn’t extinction be the ultimate failure?  

While all that may be true, we can recognize there were many factors involved in the disappearance of these creatures. I’ve never heard anyone blame the dinosaurs for their misfortune. Instead, we have great studies dedicated to finding out how many teeth they had, what their favorite food was, how much they pooped (seriously, there are papers about this).

In fact with all of the fuss surrounding these large beasts, one would assume they fall into the category of success. Why else would there be books, movies, theme parks, all dedicated to celebrating these prehistoric celebrities?  

So, why then do we allow ourselves to fixate on our own failures as if they surpass that of total extinction? We spend hours reliving an argument we had in the 8th grade, and make snap judgments about ourselves based on small isolated events. We remind ourselves of the losses, the times we screwed up, the failures far more often than we celebrate our successes. We focus on one side of the coin internally for the majority of our lives, and regard the opposite as some mythical unattainable icon. Celebrating and fixating on success only half as much as failure. For many of us, we’ve turned success into a dinosaur.

It’s too big for us to handle. We’ll never see it. We can look at it in books, movies, and the museum of social media, yet it isn’t ours to hold. In fact, we’re convinced it never will be. To us, it is extinct.  

But what if we used Dinosaur Day to shift our thoughts? What if today, you use that beautiful mind of yours to celebrate the successes you have had. The jobs you got. The talents you perfected. The way you drank that latte and didn’t spill it on your white shirt. Winning!

I challenge everyone reading this to declare that this Dino Day, you will began to celebrate and catalogue your successes, in conjunction with your failures. For every screw up you recall, search for a success. Look for ways to resurrect your confidence like a magnificent Pterodactyl (which was not actually a dinosaur I just learned).  

• Celebrate the fact that the Wright brothers crashed several glider models before they actually flew one successfully.

• Celebrate the fact that Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper gig for “lack of imagination”

• Celebrate the fact that Thomas Edison was told by a teacher he was “too stupid to learn anything”  

Celebrate the fact that on the other side of your failure is the possibility for success. You may be one mistake away from a breakthrough. Your dreams, desires, hopes, and secret wishes are by no means extinct, nor are they a mere skeleton to be regarded from a far. They are a living breathing part of you, and they are capable of transforming everything around you.

 So, to you and your life of successes and failures, I celebrate you on this Dinosaur Day.  

Go make something incredible for the world with your gifts. We need it.


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