We have all heard phrases like “Failure is never final” and “You only fail when you quit”. Those statements are true, however too often many of us internalize failure. We are harsh judges of ourselves when we do so. Any event that we might call a failure is only a moment in time, an event, a coming short of some goal or expectation, but failure is never a person. As a matter of fact every failure is a step toward victory. I have failed thousands of times during my lifetime whether it was in school, athletics or in my career. But every failure was only a part of a learning experience and a step forward in those spheres of life. Every failure and every victory were the bricks and mortar that made me successful. It is a matter of perspective and attitude. If you are afraid to fail and internalize each attempt that comes short of expectation you need to re-frame how you look at that event. I recommend a journal. Write how you feel and what you think about the event. Think it through. Keep writing. Point out to yourself as you write what the affect your errant thinking can have on you, how it can hold you back. Then write how you should be thinking about the event. Create within yourself a new expectation and map out how you will take action. Then take action!
We were meant to experience joy in life. At times though we don’t get the results we want. We don’t achieve as much as we thought we could. We fall short. We can’t seem to rise above our failures. Life feels mediocre, stagnant. Sustained happiness eludes us in our careers, our social and personal lives.
My experience has taught me to look to the man in the mirror in order to assess why. In moments of introspection and insight I have found that the fruit of my life is the result of the seeds that I planted. As I have looked at my successes and failures the fruit of my actions grew from my own choices-seeds of thought, vocal expressions, action and habit. The right fruit, an indicator that I am on the right track. The wrong fruit invariably indicates the need for change.
Change of this nature always starts within. If our thinking, speaking and our actions lean toward the negative, if our self image has become weakened due to habits of negativity, laziness, timidity or lack of discipline it is time to change. The word ‘change’ may not be the most welcome to our ears, however, if our dreams are bigger than what our lives are dishing out to us now, our perspectives on change should be one of excitement. You see, change is a choice and it can re-open the door to our dreams
Change is never immediate but like a fork in the road, a change of direction is! When we determine to re-assess our habits, feed our minds with positive conversations and reading, manage our time in a disciplined fashion, turn off the TV or video games when there is work to be done, then change starts to happen. When we find that new attitude of power over our lives and our direction, we will experience hope, joy and happiness in the process. Success may take some time but with determination to do the right things that lead to success even failures and disappointments can add to our strength because the right attitude demands that we learn from them and keep pushing forward.
We were meant to experience joy but there is a price to be paid and that price is growth through sustained effort and work with the right mental attitude born of habit.
I have enjoyed a couple of particularly playful speaking opportunities this month in which I really let my hair down. On the topic of pushing our limits intellectually, spiritually and physically I enjoyed talking about the growth that happens when muscles are pushed in the weight room.
I first stepped into a weight room a good 41 years ago. I learned that when you push those muscles to their limits they grow in mass and strength. Even now, though I am a casual lifter, I still lift more than most high schoolers that step into the weight room. I remarked that I am probably one of the very few 56 year olds you could see doing one armed push ups.
I enjoyed it when I was challenged by a member of the audience each time to prove it. Certainly though I couldn’t do it without everyone providing the music to the theme of Rocky, “Gonna Fly Now”. Silly though it sounds, the audience loved it and those speech were home runs! I will get it on video sometime.