“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”-Tony Robbins
This is Part-4 of the multi-part series on life-altering shifts of mindset and perspective. Here is Part-1, Part-2 and Part-3.
14. From “Avoiding Failure and Difficulty” to “Embracing Them and Learning the Lesson and Moving on”
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”― Winston Churchill
THE RESISTANCE TO FAILURE
You may be spending a lot of time and energy avoiding and resisting parts of your life that seem difficult. You may not be trying out new experiences or launching your greatest work because you are afraid to fail and to look bad in the eyes of your peers.
If you make the important shift from looking at failure as unnecessary and difficult to tolerate to something that is necessary and a source of much learning, you have made a big leap in your perception.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
Failure feels crushing because of all the stories, assumptions, emotional charge and poor mental energy that is associated with it. Make the shift from “failure is bad” to feeling and believing that “there is useful information locked away as a message” in failure. Failure becomes a problem only when we associate it with negativity, disempowering emotional charge and repeated unproductive thinking.
SHIFTING YOUR PERSPECTIVE
The alternative is to come to terms with your failure, accept it, improvise and do something a little different. When you treat failure and difficult situations with a lens of acceptance and understanding instead of prolonged grief, denial or avoidance, you have a better shot at moving onwards.
“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”― Friedrich Nietzsche
It is always better to fail and fail better than never trying something out and then regretting your lack of attempt. As you keep trying and becoming better, you will be massively emboldened by your newly gained experience and courage to keep trying despite all the odds.
This is the experience of life. You have to meet failure over and over again and then decide for yourself if you want to give in and give up or emerge stronger by learning from it and going ahead.
‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.’- Samuel Beckett
ARE YOU MAKING FAILURE TOO PERSONAL? AND HOW TO USE SCIENCE TO BUST THROUGH THE STIGMA OF FAILURE
One of the major issues with failure and unfavorable situations is that they feel like a personal onslaught to our deepest beliefs and values. You may assign a great deal of meaning to failure and attribute as a character flaw.
But when you objectively analyze the situation, you will be more inclined to see that it is not personal. Thinking it so and assigning too much meaning and emotional charge makes it so. And that is the key difference that the structure of science provides you. It provides you a framework to fail and fail repeatedly and fail forward.
Science makes failing and testing out other hypotheses seem cool and worthy. By creating alternate hypotheses and experimentation and objective data analysis and peer review, science provides a mastermind framework and makes it all right to get data that do not support the hypotheses. You learn from what does not work and then you test some other parameter.
So in reality, failure is not enough by itself but you have to constantly re-test by changing things and throwing enough out there on the wall to see what sticks. And this is one of the most important key differences between the highly successful and the not so successful.
INSPIRING STORIES ON FAILURE
Richard Branson is seen as a highly successful businessman but he has had his share of failures that he was able to learn from and move forward. Branson suffered from dyslexia while he was in school and eventually dropped out of school at the age of 16 and started a school magazine called “student.” The newspaper failed to create any ripples and then he went on to create a record mail order business that went on to do very well and was the beginning of his Virgin records store.
Even as he was part of highly successful ventures, Branson failed in several ventures such as his cosmetics brand Virgin Vie, his cola business Virgin Cola, Virgin Cars, Virgin Vodka and Virgin Digital among others.
The key to Branson’s success is forward momentum in the face of failure and attempting many different things and see what sticks to the wall.
The inspiring late Steve Jobs was no stranger to failure in his amazing career.
At the famous Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs said:
“My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.”
He goes on to share how he found his focus and how this failure was a very good thing for his career:
“I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Jobs’s story is a great example that in hindsight all your failures can be viewed as stepping stones to something even greater and even larger that beckons you. However, the rite of passage is locked up in learning and moving past the experiences that we view as failures.
Failure and difficulty are inevitable but the real question is if you allow them to stop you or if you reframe them to become teachers and lessons learned in life.
It is not enough to learn a lesson after failing. You must use the information to try something different and see what sticks on the wall.
If you throw enough stuff out there, the chances of stuff sticking and making an impact increase exponentially. Try it out for yourself.
15. From “I am worthless” to “I am awesome and doing the best that I can with what I have”
“In an unfathomable expanse of universe supporting galaxies of star systems with orbiting planets innumerable, I am nothing. And yet, to the few bodies encircling my tiny little spot in the world, I am essential.”― Richelle E. Goodrich
WHY SELF-WORTH IS IMPORTANT
This is a very significant shift of perspective and it involves the active restructuring and redefining very deep core beliefs and programs that you may have carried for many years.
DO you feel worthy for this world? Is your self-concept a favorable one or do you have this little voice inside your head that judges and criticizes you on a regular basis. If your deep sense of self-being is one of self-abhorrence and you do not feel good about being you then it is time to make changes.
A state of worthlessness bleeds into every aspect of your life. It trickles into your personal relationships and makes you choose situations and people who do not respect you. It manifests into your professional life and makes you feel like you are not worthy to charge your client a reasonable price.
A lack of self-worth is a deeply ingrained filter that clouds all aspects of your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions and compromises your well-being and your naturally deserving state of bliss and a state of flourishing. In fact, “flourishing” is the last thing that you feel. You feel like you are floundering and feel unable to catch up.
You may have been told that you do not amount to much and you are not worthy but those are memes or programs downloaded into your consciousness from situations and people in the past.
If you have any of those programs active in your mind, it is time to download some new ones and rewrite the code of your life.
THE LEAP FROM WORTHLESSNESS TO AWESOMENESS
You have to actively plant the seed of self-worth and self-love in the garden of your mind and spirit. The first step into worth is the deep and undeniable acceptance of yourself and gradual letting go of the self-bashing inclination of mind. When you are unnecessarily harsh and irritable with yourself, you need to label that as an act that feeds into your worthless or self-loathing programs and the awareness that it is time to let it go.
Consider the alternatives for a shift of perspective and rays of sunshine and light. Remember the time when you were proud and happy about you. Deeply feel the feelings associated with the situation when you felt great about yourself and felt like you were an awesome person. The idea is to magnify those thoughts and feelings and allow them to become a larger self-concept and slowly drop away the worthlessness.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”― Gautama Buddha
Next time you feel worthless or someone makes you feel bad, take a few moments to shift your perspective into an empowered state of self-acceptance and love. The more you respect yourself and feel worthy and think and feel and act from that vantage point, the less situations and people you will meet that remind you of being worthless.
Remember this: when you choose to look at yourself in a favorable light and from a deep sense of self-worth and self-love and refuse to back down from that perspective, massive shifts happen.
The people who cannot manipulate you anymore lose interest in you, and the situations that seem impossible just do not seem so insurmountable.
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
However, this is not a “read a book or a post and feel good for a while and forget it” type of solution. This is a constant day in and day out redefining of who you are. It is having the courage to call out everyone including yourself who treats you like you are worthless.
When you love yourself deeply:
You will give yourself a break.
You will be more allowing with your own mistakes.
You will release bad feelings more easily and recognize them for what they are.
You smile more and relax into your situation.
You slowly develop the courage to sing your own song and choose your destiny.
You move from self-loathing to self-love.
You transform overwhelming fear to “Love.”
You move from anger and resentment to gratitude and appreciation.
“Appreciate every little beautiful moment in every day of your life. Give it a try and you’ll see the world from another perspective.” ― Thea Kristine May
Become Aware of self-hate and worthlessness. Replace with self-love, appreciation and acceptance.
Choose to feel great and awesome about yourself and think and act from that perspective.
Remind yourself consistently that regardless of the past, you have the power in this moment to choose to feel self worth and self-love right now.
Refuse to back down from a viewpoint of deep self-worth and love. Consciously step into the role of worth and awesomeness in your life.
16. From “hopelessness” to “hope”
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”― John Lennon
This is a wonderfully uplifting change of perspective that has the power of transforming your life instantly. Hope is a very powerful force of transformation and the lack of hope is a very powerful demotivating force.
WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY VIEWPOINT OR FILTER?
If your primary viewpoint is “it cannot be” or “it is impossible” or “who cares” or “If only I was rich or famous” or “it will never work,” then you are coming from hopelessness.
Hope allows you statements such as “if it is to be, it is up to me,” or “it is possible,” or “I care to make it happen” or “it might work…I need to find out.”
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”― Laini Taylor
A HIGHLY INSPIRING STORY OF HOPE AGAINST ALL ODDS
In a moving TED talk, North Korean escapee Joseph Kim describes his life in the famine of 1990’s. Kim’s father, a victim of the famine died of starvation when he was only 12 years old. He also went through the disappearance of his mother and his sister’s escape to China in search of food.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”― Martin Luther King Jr.
Kim speaks about his journey of survival that took him from gathering rags and food to his dangerous escape into China at the age of 16. The one word that kept him alive was hope.
Kim was granted refuge and could move to the USA in 2007 and he lost a family but ended up gaining a new one in the US. Overcoming all difficulties of language and his difficult past, Kim enrolled for College and decided to do well.
“When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”― Pittacus Lore
Shift your perspective from hopelessness to hope and live from that position.
Hold a tiny space of hope within your heart, body and spirit and allow that hope to reflect in your words, thoughts and actions.
17. From “knowledge is power” to “Wisdom, experience and Implementation” generated by the knowledge is power
“When you know better you do better.” ― Maya Angelou
IS KNOWLEDGE POWER OR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF KNOWLEDGE MORE IMPORTANT?
This is a very subtle but highly significant shift of perspective that we have to experience for ourselves to understand its power and efficacy. The dominant idea and paradigm out there is that “knowledge is power” and that is a very good idea except it is only part of the story of success and personal power.
Are you moving from knowledge to knowledge and from system to system without pausing and having a deep experiential understanding of the matter? Getting the knowledge and gathering more books is a good first step but what are you doing with the knowledge that you have gained?
Are you allowing yourself to act and change and improvise based on the newly learned insights and lessons? This happened to me in the past. I moved from system to system and eventually I became a “collector” of knowledge. But if you probed deeper, I could not exactly explain how things worked deeply since I was moving too fast to assimilate the wisdom that I had learned.
Then I realized that all the knowledge in the world is not too much use without implementation and placing it in the proper structure of action and usage. If the knowledge that I have gained is to impress my friends and sound good at a party then that is unfortunate because I could do so much more with it if I acted upon it.
One other thing that merits mentioning here is that the input of knowledge and information is at a very rapid clip these days and it is upon us to deeply understand what we learn and implement it in our lives. Of course, if we have too many balls up in the air, it will become very difficult to catch any of them.
You are best served if you focus vigorously on a few ideas and implement them very rapidly. Test out for yourself if the ideas are working or not before moving on.
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates
SHIFTING FROM COLLECTING INFORMATION TO DOING AND SHARING
Transform your perspective from a “collector of information” to a “doer and action taker” with the information that you have. Of course, there will always be things that you will store in the recesses of your mind or your filing system for use later on. But realize that not all knowledge is meant to be collected and put away. It is best to place the knowledge in a context that you can use to solve a problem or provide some value to others.
Great knowledge is best shared for the best of humanity. It is best taught and discussed with others and the best way to do this is if you live the life that you have learnt in books. Once you have a system to channel the knowledge into meaningful actions and goals, you will get maximum mileage out of your time and effort. Real life experience and action mold the knowledge that you learn and shape it into an unique form that only you can best share with the world.
Do something with the knowledge that you are gaining, be it an e-course, teaching someone, coaching a group or doing some volunteer work.
Instead of moving from one topic to another, allow yourself to deeply and experientially understand the knowledge that you have gained.
Now over to you! Please let me know in the comments below about your thoughts on the shifts in mindset and perspective in this post and share any stories that you have.
Photo Credit: Noukka Signe via Compfight