That is the conundrum. But it's the wrong question to ask. A toddler doesn't know failure because he only focuses on intent. Frustration might make him cry, but determination drives him on. He wants that toy. He wants to walk on two legs. He doesn't keep track of the times he fails. There's only this time. There's a moment of surprise when it doesn't work, and an adjustment to try it a little differently. Like riding a bike, at some point we find balance to stay upright.
Whether it's a new career or a new relationship, toppling over happens many times before it happens with ease. We over-correct, we try too hard, we pretend there is no problem (which is a version of giving up). It takes persistence. Perseverance trumps intelligence, luck, and connections.
Sometimes people feel guilty for doing what they want, as though this is selfish. Yet to not do what you want is to forfeit your vote. Every moment we have choice. It may feel like we fall in love, that it unwittingly finds us, but in truth, we choose. There is a moment when you decide to go forward, to love that person, to open your heart and gamble.
And if you're not following your dreams, at some point you realize you are so far off course that you can't get there from here. And you find yourself packing your bags and walking out. Confounding others. Leaving a train wreck of shattered home, friendships, unfinished projects and the grief of an aborted future.
What we forget is that everyone is doing their very best. For every person wants to be great. That is the blue sky under failure, disease, confusion, depression, anger and fear. Compassion for ourselves is the crux of having compassion for others. In the moment that I forgave myself, I instantly forgave everyone else. They suddenly had done nothing wrong.