PREPARE TO DIE. Those are the words boldly marked on the back cover of Dark Souls. In a more literal sense, it means Prepare To Fail. As with any challenging venture, failure should not only be planned for, it should be anticipated. Failure is how we improve.

maxresdefaultThose who set out to create something–a house, a painting, a child–eventually learn there are challenges. Not everything will be clear at first. They have they same chances that anyone else has, but there are no guarantees as there is no experience level.

Some gains are made. Skills are improved. A preference for certain techniques develops. We start to think we can do anything.

We encounter tricks and traps. The world does its best to stop us not with traditional obstacles, but by exploiting our own foolishness. As we step on the trap switches, we have no idea what we’re doing again. All of our experience and pride fades as we see how unskilled we truly are.

Do we prosper and endure? Or do we simply go hollow? It would be easy to give up. Going on will only get harder.

Assuming we go on, we ascend through brutal hardships. In time we will see the most beautiful sights. Each discovery will prove even more brilliant than the one before.

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However, in this land of wonders, we will find archers bearing down on us. Their criticisms serve only to subdue us on a lower level before we can ascend even higher. Envy pushes them to hold us in place or force us back the way we came. Others may even join forces to this end. But, possibly with some help, we can continue to a point where the world widens for us further.

The strongest opposition lies in wait. Are we ready? Do we have the right supplies? Can we prepare enough for the last wave of challenges?

Eventually, your skills and perseverance will lead you into a secluded place where the light has grown dim and the stakes are their highest. Maybe you continue to struggle. Perhaps you find a swift pace.

At the moment you least suspect it, you finish. It’s over.

One problem: You didn’t find the truth. You followed every recommendation, did everything they way you were supposed to, and it still ended in a way you don’t fully agree with.

It still ended. Now you’re back in that prison again, waiting to start over. Will you get up and try again?

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