That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger – Nietzsche
Most of us have been taught that failure is the worst. A very bad thing to be avoided at all costs. The downside of this viewpoint is more stress, less creativity, and lower self-esteem. Our entire education system is based upon the “right” answer – of which there is only one. We’re cultured from a very young age that failure is bad – it means we don’t have the “right stuff” or we aren’t smart enough. Many give up and quit because of this errant thinking. In reality, “failure” is just quitting to soon.
During my recovery from a severe brain injury I failed often – hundreds of times a day. I never considered this to be a bad thing – it was all part of the process. As my brain came back online I considered everything to be good. The ability to think and reason once again was terrific! Even my “bad” days were good because I could once again tell the difference. This is when I realized it’s all good and everything we encounter can make us better, stronger, and wiser.
I developed Business Aikido to share what I learned and help others become more effective and creative in their workplace and personal lives. Here are few key items that can be learned from “failure”:
You’re Doing Something – ideas are safe and flow through our minds throughout the day. To bring something into the physical world requires a commitment and numerous iterations and refinements. Trial and error. When embarking on a new endeavor you will “fail”, oftentimes on a frequent basis. NOTHING was ever created perfectly the first time. There are always improvements and new ideas. This is an integral part of life. The only way to truly fail is to quit. Instead of viewing life as black/white, begin viewing it as a ceaseless spectrum of colors and opportunities. If it doesn’t work exactly as you envisioned learn from the experience and improve upon it. Take the next step.
Everything is for Your Benefit – Failure is just success that stopped too soon. Develop the mindset that everything you encounter is helping you achieve your goal. The obvious little successes along the way are easy to accept and use as impetus to keep moving forward. It’s more unfamiliar to view those actions that don’t yield the desired results as positive. But they are! You just discovered something that didn’t work and with a little self-reflection and analysis can learn many new avenues to pursue in moving forward. Take a moment to look at what happened from a new viewpoint and begin anew.
Your Personal Power Increases – When things don’t go exactly as envisioned, this helps you build your personal power and belief in yourself. You regain your center and stop listening to input from other naysayers. Everything you see in your life started out as an idea in someone’s mind. If you research the everyday items you see and use you’ll become aware of the countless iterations it took to get it to its current design. This happened because the inventor maintained their vision and grew their personal power to keep moving forward regardless of what others were saying. Self-belief is an extremely powerful force.
It’s All About the Journey – The popular saying that life is what happens between your plans is so true. Having a goal is important because it gives your life direction and a sense of purpose. Without this vision you drift aimlessly and typically have a feeling of being unfulfilled. Once your vision and purpose are established you now have a sense of purpose. By sharing your gifts and talents you are contributing to improve life here on Planet Earth.
Same Thinking = Same Results – Einstein’s famous quote “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” is so true. If you aren’t happy with how your life is going you need to change your thinking. Only you have the power to do this. To see the evidence of your thinking just look at how your life is working. Are you happy and excited to start your day? Do you have a sense of purpose? Is there a song in your heart and dance in your step? If so, keep thinking the thoughts you have and maintain your vision. You’re definitely on the right track. If not, take a moment to reflect on what isn’t working to your desire and make the necessary changes. Write out a few new goals and read these many times throughout the day. Give these new thoughts a lot of air-time until they become automatic.