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It’s only fair that tell you, from the start, that this is not about the hit song 10,000 Reason by Matt Redman. You can find more on that, over at M-brio Music – This blog is instead all about why you owe it to yourself to try again.
Failure is painful. Knowing that we haven’t been able to do something, that we thought we could, is a feeling we all dread. It’s no surprise then, that so many of us, give up on chasing our dreams so early in life. We associate the act of trying something, that is outside our comfort zone, with the feeling of pain, and subconsciously, distance ourselves from it. That is why, in a world with 7.13 Billion people, the daring few still stand out.
But how do we develop a fear that is, by definition, irrational? One explanation is conditioning. We experience something bad involving a thing, we associate the bad experience with that thing, then we become afraid of that thing. Simple. But, us humans don’t sit at the top of the food chain, for no reason. We’re extremely clever. We can learn by observation. A child, who sees his mother panicking frantically, in response to a frog in the greenhouse, is likely to be afraid of frogs too. Think about that. We learn to be afraid of things because we have seen someone else reacting negatively towards it. While on some occasions, this can be incredibly useful, and even a life saver, it’s easy to see, why it can also be a massive impediment to us in our lives.
So how do we stop our fear of failure, from dragging us, kicking and screaming, to the dreaded comfort zone?
Well, it’s important that we realise, some of the most successful people in the world ever, have also suffered the most failures. Yet they are still regarded as successes. Why? Because they kept on going. A good example of this, is Thomas Edison.
Famous, for creating the light bulb and the phonograph amongst other things, he tried, and failed, for what must have felt like the longest time, in his attempts to create a source of light, that could be powered by electricity. In fact, it took 10’000 attempts, before he got it right.
Now, I know for a fact, that had it been me, I would have given up. I’m more optimistic than most, but I really can’t imagine trying that many times, to get something right, failing, and still being motivated to try again. That’s what I call persistence. But what is it about Thomas Edison, that gave him the ability to keep on going, when it seemed like he was trying to do the impossible. Attitude. You see, his approach was different, purely based on how he decided to see things.
A common example of perspective, or the way people are able to see the same thing in a completely different way, is the glass that’s viewed as half full, or half empty. Even if you were to measure the capacity of the glass, and be able to prove that it was exactly half full, there would still be some, who would describe it as being half empty. As simple as it sounds, his way of seeing things, or perspective, was what made Thomas Edison, into one of the daring few.
When questioned, about his perceived continuous failure, Edison said these few, but powerful words.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
What would happen, if we viewed our mistakes in this way? How different would our lives be, if when we came up against an obstacle that could be viewed as a failure, we instead saw it as an opportunity to try again, with the knowledge that we are one less mistake closer to reaching our ultimate goal?
Have you given up on your dreams? Have you decided that there’s no point pursuing that career, house, relationship or BMI? Have you broken one, or all of your new years resolutions? Well, whatever ‘IT’ is, if you really believe you deserve it, then it’s worth trying again.
When considering past failures, it’s important to look at what went wrong, and then work out what can be changed to alter the outcome. The times where I have found my greatest success, have almost always been, when I have looked for, then evaluated, the causes of my initial failure. Once the cause has been identified, it’s easy to work out what can be changed the next time.
Life is too short to live in fear. Change your attitude to one that allows you to make mistakes, with the knowledge that you are on the way to achieving something that you want or need. If your diet didn’t work, find out why. Did you cut off all your sweet treats, have a bad day at work, and give in to a craving? Then maybe you need to allow yourself an emergency Red Velvet Cupcake, that is authorised as part of your new diet, in the case of an emergency. Used sparingly, with discipline and with the knowledge that it hasn’t compromised your diet, the emergency cupcake allows you to remove that instant feeling of guilt or failure, and, allows you to continue your healthy eating plan, rather than giving up in the way we often do, when we feel like we’ve lost.
Whatever the situation, give yourself the best chance of success. Look at instances where you have ‘failed’ and ask yourself what you can change to create a different outcome the next time. If it’s something you really want, need, or feel you deserve, isn’t it worth trying again?Tags: change, edison, failure, motivation, new year, persistence, resolutions, thomas edison, try