Hacking failure…and using it to your advantage.
Failure sucks. Yup. We’ve all been there, done that. You tried and failed miserably. But what did you do with that knowledge? Did you give up? Go on to make more improvements in your life? Change something about what you did and repeat it to achieve success? I know that I have failed trying to do a yoga pose and actually fell on my nose…I luckily didn’t break it as I saw the fall coming, but I knew that I had to get stronger or I was not going to be able to hold myself up.
And that my friends, is what failure does for me. It makes me want to get stronger. I remember hearing this once about Thomas Edison when asked by a reporter if he should give up on the lightbulb: “Why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric lightbulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.”
As difficult as it is to remember this lesson, other approaches to what you are working on might work better. If you feel like you need a fresh set of eyes on something, ask a friend for some objective help. From personal experience, I know that I didn’t start off knowing how to play soccer. I had to be knocked down quite a bit in the beginning. And mountain biking. Whosh. I will never forget how ermmm it felt like I had ridden a horse for days in the saddle when I was done with a ride once. I was like oh. That’s why people wear padded pants. Note taken. And then the bruises and scrapes from falling, but I got back up.
3 lessons I learned from failure:
- You get back up and try again. Okay, so maybe your ego takes a beating. That does occasionally happen in life. My ego went to the backseat as I was wrestling with invisible diseases. Things that had once been easy for me, like eating, became very complicated. Walking tired me out, so I had to learn new ways to get exercise in. I came back to yoga and couldn’t do things that I once had a better grasp on. I knew that it was time for me to get serious about moving forward and that I was really going to experience set-backs, but that no matter what, I couldn’t give up on what I wanted to accomplish. I was going to complete yoga teacher training even if I soaked in a hot bath with salts every single night. Even if it hurt to move…because one day, it wouldn’t hurt as much.
- There is more than one way to do something. I started dissecting what was happening to me. Most of you know that I am fascinated with research and the holistic approach to healing. I knew that I had to think, act, and imagine the goal being accomplished. I had to immerse myself in the experience of what I wanted…and I also had to think backwards. I would take a yoga pose and go slowly. If my hip was tight, I would have to work on hips for a while. If I didn’t feel strong, I would have to work on my core again, which side note, ummm had been cut to save my baby (emergency c-section). I couldn’t compare my progress to anyone’s in the room. Comparison makes you feel like a failure. <<< Do not do that to yourself. You only have to better than you were the day before and that is the root of my progress. I was not looking at where others were going. I only looked to myself.
- Failure was teaching me how to set myself up for success. I knew that throughout history, people have failed. I didn’t own it like it was my shame to fail. I didn’t think that inventors had woken up one day and said “Hey Wilbur, I think we should build this and fly.” Poof. They flew. Nope. The crashing part sets you up for that awesome day when you really do learn to fly. So sticking my crow pose, in yoga this was my nemesis for a while, well, getting into that and holding it for longer than a second takes work. I am still working, trust me, but the day I did it, I knew that I was making progress in many areas. Not just the pose or the form, but the act of not giving up. The act of perseverance and sticking to my goal.
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