Are we perhaps so frightened by failure that we want to avoid any possibility of defeat? If so, then we are already defeated.
Success and failure are two sides of the same coin – twins, not enemies. We cannot have the right without the left, the front without the back, or the top without the bottom. Moments of defeat are inevitable, and success is built on them. Avoiding failure turns into avoiding success. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but in order to get what we want, we must accept what we do not want. Inconvenient, isn’t it? And not really. This gives us the ability to get up and shake the dust off ourselves when we fall, and then keep moving. Once we begin to accept failure as a key ingredient of success, we can allow ourselves to be bold and make the mistakes that are necessary on the path we have taken.
After the disappointment, it is crucial that we regroup our strengths and reflect further than we have fallen. We build our own backbone by, after every failure, trying again, and if we fail again, then we fail better than the previous time. Failure offers us the opportunity to grow and learn from our own bad assessments. Success is the frame of our minds. We cannot be truly defeated until we declare ourselves a loser. When we stick that label on ourselves, then we start to feel, think and act like a loser. If we are like most people, we will usually not succeed at first, and every failed attempt is not a defeat, as long as we keep trying. If we want to succeed, then it is better to think of failure as our own teacher – our personal trainer – who constantly raises our willingness to learn from our own mistakes.
Ways to avoid success and achieve the goal of failure!
Would you like to change in order to succeed? But, if you are like most people, then you have most likely gone in the wrong direction defined by bad, old habits, and you are behaving in ways that lead you in the opposite direction than desired.
If we try to avoid failure at all costs, then we can practice these tips that will not disappoint us. But if we really want to succeed, then in every next attempt we have to fail better, bounce more and stay on the path we have set.
Lack of plan
We can fail if we do not know what we want. And if we don’t know where we’re going, then how can we get anywhere? So we need to have a plan so we know where we are going and when we got there. If we have a final plan that we want to achieve, a purpose that we want to fulfill, then there are better chances that we will succeed.
Setting unrealistic standards
We can sabotage success by giving ourselves unrealistic deadlines, which are simply impossible to meet. They are called deadlines for a reason. We can break to be able to honor them, but if we are broken, then we cannot succeed. Setting realistic goals includes giving yourself time, slowing down, and the ability to be more productive. When we set realistic goals for ourselves, not deadlines, then we will feel less pressure that creates the flow of time. We can work smarter and less. We will achieve more things, and that will cost us less when it comes to health and life expectancy.
Meeting other people’s expectations and procrastination are two ways to play it safe and avoid taking risks. If we don’t try, then we can’t fail. If we tend to live by the standards of others, then we will avoid potential condemnation and try not to stand out. Procrastination provides us with freedom from failure, true, but it has a short-term effect, while in the long run, it protects us from success, which is outside the zone that is known and safe. Research shows that the greater the chances of success, the greater our tendency to expose ourselves to unfavorable circumstances. That is why it is better to be creative in taking risks, stepping into the unknown and unpredictable, outside the standard set limits. Let us accept the failure with open arms, learn from it and let it happen for us, not for ourselves.
Negative view of the world
When we break away from the challenge and arm ourselves with a positive view of things, we can focus on solutions instead of problems, as well as change the perspective from which we look at the situation and look for opportunities in every difficulty. Remember what personal resources we have at our disposal to overcome the problem? Let’s look at the benefits we have from losses and the ends as new beginnings. Optimism can be contagious, so it’s good to surround yourself with people whose presence we enjoy. Research shows that optimistic people climb the ladder of success faster and more than pessimists.
Being too hard on yourself
When we are too strict with ourselves, and when we happen to forget or make a mistake, we reduce the chance of a positive outcome of the situation. That’s why we better put the ball down. Research shows that success is easier when we have a healthy dose of self-esteem. After a mistake, let’s be gentle with ourselves. Let’s give ourselves consolation or motivational speech as well as positive affirmations. Let’s pat ourselves on the shoulder when we complete some minor or major task.
Understanding failure personally
When things go the way we don’t like, we can sometimes attribute it to bad luck or Murphy’s Law (for example, if something can go wrong, then it’s sure to go wrong). When we personally understand every day, random events and create a negative pattern from them, we actually lose power and make ourselves a victim of failure. If we want to empower ourselves, then we can make a turn when we go in the wrong direction. That is why it is good to change the perspective and not understand life and circumstances as enemies. Instead, we can focus on our own actions, for example: “How can I turn this situation to my advantage”, “Can I find something good in this negative situation?” or “What can I do in this situation to overcome it?” Progress (success) and regression (failure) go together like a hand and a glove. Defeat is an integral part of progress, and success is not a straightforward movement – it is actually a zigzag movement back and forth.
Ignoring one’s own physical and mental health
Many successful people consider stress and burnout an integral part of the price they have to pay to succeed, as a sacrifice they have to make. Research, however, suggests the exact opposite. Increased self-care is actually very important for success, and that, in particular, refers to regular sleep, balanced diet, and regular exercise, as well as giving yourself time during the day to relax, meditate, take a nap or stay in nature. Moments of leisure or full awareness without any compulsion – without the urge to speed up, improve or achieve something – actually contribute to our mental and physical health by increasing productivity, improving memory, strengthening the immune system, reducing health problems, leading to greater life satisfaction and longer life – life expectancy. Indulging in such activities allows us to stand by the decisions we need to make, and to see them more clearly and creatively, which will bring us closer to achieving the set goals.
Refusing advice and help from others
Working with and learning from other people is key to success. It is important that we have our views and move in our own way, but not at the cost of becoming smart. Listening to those who have experience of trial and failure can help us, and that is why it is useful to turn to people who have already achieved what we are working on because they can understand what it is that we are going through. They can offer useful tips that can change our own perspective and encourage us to move towards the goal.
Cultivation of one’s own perfectionism
Setting unrealistically high standards, more precisely – perfectionism – makes us rigid, destroys spontaneity and flexibility. Perfectionism can drive us to unrealistic goals, too much work that leads nowhere, and even avoiding achieving the goal if not everything is as we imagined. When we tell ourselves that nothing is good enough and when we do not want to accept anything less than perfection, we are actually only increasing the chances of failure. It is true that perfection does not exist. The humanity that distinguishes us all implies imperfections and flaws, so let us allow ourselves to be imperfect human beings who sin. We learn from our mistakes and use them as lessons. The paradox is that giving up perfectionism will not slow us down, but on the contrary, it will speed up and encourage our process of reaching the goal.
Declaring yourself a loser
The biggest obstacle on the road to success is in our heads. When we declare ourselves a loser, then we identify with everything that limits us. Thus, we give ourselves tacit approval not to succeed and accept the label of a loser, and then we strengthen all those behaviors that led us to the first failures. Labels are for cans and jars, not for people. It is better to think of failure as a part of our own experience, and not as ourselves. Taking a step back and observing that part of the experience impartially reduces self-condemnation and prevents us from punishing ourselves. We can address our failure in the third person and make friends with him so that he does not influence our future decisions. Research has shown that this strategy helps people separate themselves from the experience of failure by separating us from that experience and giving us the opportunity to choose our own actions. When we practice such an approach, we will notice an increased ability to view obstacles as an integral part of the road to success, as opposed to self-imposed labels that mark us as a loser.
I will end this text with one of my favorite life ideas:
“Never defeat! Just a lesson”!
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