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April 12, 2024

Failing Is A Story

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Personal development 101 teaches you the mindset that “You learn more from your losses than your wins”... That “failure is feedback”... and “Either you win or you learn”...

I know that at its core, all of this is true. But I had a hard time believing it for a while until I saw it from this different approach.

I like thinking of goals as targets. This helps me understand that the results I get are a byproduct of the process that created it. In other words, any time I don’t meet expectations or fall short of a desired result, I can review what I did to cause it.

“Failure is feedback”. Right?

And this becomes more clear when you think about shooting a bow and arrow at a target. You take a few deep breaths, pick your line and match your bow to it, carefully pull back the bowstring, and release to shoot the arrow. Depending on where the bow goes, you get feedback that informs your performance. So you diagnose your process, make small adjustments to your aim and technique, and try again!

Let’s say you missed the target. Is that a failure? I don’t think so. Because slowly but surely, one attempt at a time you get more reference points and a better understanding for how to do better in the future. This means that each “failed attempt” is just a gentle nudge in the direction of improvement.

Believing that you failed is just the disempowering meaning you choose to assign to an event.

When you miss your target, do you want to choose to see your performance as falling short, not good enough, and hopeless? Or do you want to see it as an honest step forward?

Trust me, this is easier said than done. I know it can be emotional and devastating to not reach your goals, or meet the level you wanted to after putting so much of your heart into something. It may cause you to feel like a failure. But that’s just your unchecked unconscious beliefs influencing your perception and connecting a sad story to what objectively happened with no emotional charge.

And that, I believe, is what’s at the heart of all of the great advice related to failure being a good thing.

When you can observe your performance for what it is, you become so much more capable of using it as feedback and integrating it into your process, and therefore make progress.

If you feel like you’re vulnerable to this, like you are your own toughest critic and often disappoint yourself, one of the 9 Super Habits is dedicated to helping you to get better at seeing your performance for what it truly was (and to see the golden lessons in everything that will accelerate your success. Check them out!

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