Learning to leverage failure as a precursor to success

Key concept:

Failure is subjective, meaning that it triggers different things for different people.
Failure in any form often seems contagious: bad things and disappointments in life all tend to come all at once.
Ever wondered why that happens?
Actually, it has to do with our own predisposed expectation, and several key universal concepts that play into it.
The failure trap.

When we over-focus on adversity, what actually happens is we sharpen the senses with which we experience that adversity in our lives.

It’s a reinforcing our acuity to adversity and failure.

Analogously, if you look for the color green, you will see a lot more of it if you hadn’t been looking specifically for it.  And, you’ll see even more still than if you had been looking for the color red (or, something else that requires a focus)
The same thing happens with issues that present themselves as challenges.  With every one you examine (or experience) closely, your capacity for this experience grows and deepens.

Eventually, you start thinking along the lines of “what else could go wrong?”
That question is an active search for something else to go wrong.

Mind you, not only you are certain to find it, but you will also overlook all the things that might have been right in the process.
Like the color analogy, you will not even see or acknowledge the color red when you are looking for green.
Failure is the result of mental conditioning that leads to examining one’s life progress, goals, etc based on what they are not as opposed to what they are.* This is a dangerous path, and if not careful, will eventually lead to a dark place that is hard to come back from.  Actually, every time we think this way, we experience an erosion of personal standards.
Erosion of personal standards


As you  actively take focus away from your (everyday!) successes, your internal parameters towards what success/failure is become skewered (shifted).

Now, we begin to settle for less because you are afraid to fail, and therefore are less effective at building on and adding up on successes to reach a higher level of achievement and personal standards.  What begins to happen is instead of working on succeeding, we begin to work on not failing.  Even though the two may seem like the same thing, they are principally opposite of one another.

We lower the bar so that we don’t “fail” as often, as hard, or as obviously as we feel we feel we do, and in that avoidance deprive ourselves of opportunities to take a step outside of the comfort zone, learn, expand our repertoire of skills by making mistakes and error corrections, and, eventually, compromise our depth.

This “erosion”, in reality, is a cheating of our true self, because at heart I have to believe that we would rather succeed than settle.

With the Principled Approach™, we consciously rebuild our perspective and outlook on the world.   We derive principles of experience from failure and condition ourselves to see (and use) them as stepping stones rather than blockades.

*This trap is applicable to relationships as well – seeing what’s not there while ignoring what is.


~ by TheZov on August 1, 2009.

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