In my last blog post, I talked about the difficult process of progress and how it isn’t always forwards, sometimes we have to take a couple of steps backwards. But despite the failures, you have to keep your eyes on the prize and be proud of where you are now compared to where you started – you’re still moving towards your goal. That being said, it doesn’t mean you have to be ecstatic and filled with overwhelming joy about the times that you do fail.
Sweat the small stuff. Cry over spilt milk.
But then figure out what’s making you sweat, figure out how you spilled the milk.
We try to brush off small or insignificant things that aren’t necessarily detrimental to our end goal. Sometimes brushing off small failures is a good thing, it can keep us from dwelling on the past. But dismissing them right away can keep us from preparing for the future.
“I’m not going to call an ambulance this time because if I do, you won’t learn anything.” -Family Guy
If we don’t fail, we won’t learn. If we don’t learn, our minds won’t grow. If our minds don’t grow, we won’t be ready to take the next steps toward our goals.
It’s okay to be frustrated for a minute, but then we wash off the sweat, clean up the milk and go on with the day. When we take our failures and use them as new stepping stones towards our goals, we’re learning rather than burning. Research actually shows that continuing on in the face of failure and adversity is likely to create neural, molecular, and hormonal changes in the brain that help you become better prepared and more resistant in the future.
The perceptions of your abilities and your failures play a huge role in your motivation. We call these perceptions “mindsets.” There’s a fixed mindset that thinks talent, intelligence, and creative ability are static, they have a limit that cannot be extended – the fixed mindset thinks failure is futile and final. The other mindset is a growth mindset that interprets failure as valuable feedback for improvement instead of evidence of lack of ability. A person with a fixed mindset is likely to give up in the face of adversity, but a person with a growth mindset sees the adversity as a challenge that needs conquering.
Whichever mindset we’re in, a critical concept to remember is that people are not failures. Plans fail, actions fail, but you are not a failure. The important thing is what we do with those failed plans or actions – do we ignore them or learn from them?
Try. Fail. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
Next step in failing better: Schedule a free mini session with me!