Monday, February 20, 2012

No Such Thing as Failure

If there is one lesson we learned and remember well from our grade school education it is the lesson of

Passing and Failing.  There was always some predetermined and pre-set target we had to meet or exceed in order to have passed.  Of all our lessons, this one was taught and retaught, learned and re-learned until it became a permanent fixture in our lives and our definition of 'success'.

Despite the fact that I am unable to strike the word 'failure' from the dictionary, I urge each one of us to strike it from our own personal lexicon.  It is often the fear of 'failure' that prevents us from taking risks, from even trying to obtain what we want out of life. It is the fear of 'not' achieving that holds us back from achievement itself.   Imagine though if there were no failure, no negative measure to avoid?  What would hold us back then?  What might we go on to achieve in our lives?

Consider a world in which we simply tried, tried and tried again until we succeeded, a world in which our lack of immediate success did not inhibit us from continuing to try to attain a certain goal.  This is the perspective I want us to adopt, the belief that there is no such thing as failure, only results.  Our actions lead us to results.  Period.  If they are not the desired results then we need to engage in different actions, and continue doing so, until we obtain the desired results.

There would be no negative connotation from the attempts that missed the mark, they would simply be learning experiences that helped us to narrow down our future choices.  We wouldn't hesitate to continue to strive for our desired results because there would be no stigma attached to missing.

No inventor gets it right the first time.  They use a constant feedback loop to help them narrow the choices they make and actions they take until the desired result is achieved.  Rather than being stymied by failure, they view the misses as opportunities to refine their approaches and narrow the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

How might you adopt this same approach to achieving your desired results?  Instead of beating yourself up over undesirable results, you embrace those results for the learning you received and the insights into the new actions you could take to get you closer if not exactly what you want.

Next time you find yourself criticizing yourself for having 'failed' to achieve something, adopt a new mantra...  tell yourself...

I didn't fail, I simply achieved a different result.  

Then... Consider what you can do differently to drive a more favourable result.  

This positive and proactive approach leaves you with control over the choices you make and the actions you take, without undermining your sense of confidence or personal empowerment.  Trying and Doing become the new mantras of Success.

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