How we can use failure to our advantage.
Ohhh failure! How we remember it too well. We all have a memory of failure, or not fitting in that lives in the back of our minds until this day.
Our fear of failure controls our lives. It is that tightness in our chests. It is the 100 good reasons we have not to complete that action step today—even if it will lead to our greatest dream ever.
It hides in the background and shows up as reason and logic. It warns us to play small—or medium—because otherwise we might be laughed at or shunned. It convinces us to check Facebook, or clean the house, or walk the dog… Or do anything else but that!
Even if this sounds bad, it is good to remember that this is part of the human experience. We all want to be the best we can be. We all want to be liked by others and yeah, part of us is scared that if we don’t do it perfectly, then we will be rejected. To our subconscious mind—the primal part of us—rejection equals the threat of violence and death. Sounds like a bit of a leap, doesn’t it? Yet that is the way our nervous system is wired.
Why else would we get so stressed out about the little things? It’s not because of the little things… It’s because our cellular memory goes back for countless generations. Our psyche remembers lifetimes back and our karma is a result of all of our self-judgement and the blame we put upon ourselves. Multiplied by the fear we have from our previous deaths—many of which were painful.
I bring this up because we are so quick to judge ourselves in a heartbeat. Our thoughts can say the cruelest things and what’s worse is they can be on repeat like a broken record! Fortunately there are quite a few ways to change this.
The first is to acknowledge the human experience. Every one of us is going through some level of pain on this Earth. None of us get it right. Especially not at first. Any time we think we have found someone who is perfect, there is always a back story. There is usually some level of failure before the triumph in their past and besides, comparing isn’t helpful anyway!
We are all subject to our upbringing and programming. Some people have more trauma and sadness than others. It really is harder for some than others. With this understanding in place, we can powerfully adopt a higher view of our own problems. Failure is fueled by inexperience, negative thinking and disbelief. One thing to know about negative thinking is that it essentially is all a lie! Sure, this doesn’t help so much when we are trapped in it—but it can help us.
If we choose to look at our past as a stream of lessons, rather than a list of things we did wrong, we empower ourselves! Not only that, but we tune into a meaning of life. To learn and to grow. We all make mistakes. We all have failed. But not all of us have learned from the past so easily.
I really believe it is one of the most valuable tools we can have. When we have the ability to look at our past, especially with kindness towards ourselves, we have the power to change it. But it can only be done by disconnecting our judgement from the situation. Otherwise we are just beating ourselves up for no good reason! And that’s no fun!
Ask questions, rather than giving assumptions. It is invaluable when learning from experience.
The Only Five Questions You Will Ever Need For Positive Change are:
1. What went wrong?
Reflect upon what happened and allow yourself to feel the pain of what went wrong. Name the specific event that happened. Sit in the pain for a bit, with love and a certain level of detachment. Just look at it how it is, but without blowing it up to be worse than it was.
2. What did I do that encouraged this situation to happen?
Each and every one of us is responsible in some way for what happens around us. Thoughts can create a million different types of actions in the one situation. Of course these thoughts are fueled by belief, so our beliefs are worth examining here too.
This is not to blame, it may have been totally someone else’s fault, or even our own! Yet we can always trace a path back and see the slight things that contributed to the outcome of that situation. This gives us great power to change because awareness and a willingness to see is the first step!
3. What do I wish happened instead?
This is where we get to go into wish mode, and revision a better future. This is important because our minds need to see it first, before we can create it. Yes, visualization really plays that much of a role in our reality. Plus, we need to know what we want in order to aim for it. Focus is key in creating the lives we want.
4. What is clear to me now that I couldn’t see at the time?
This is a great question because hindsight is 20/20! It is super useful to use our great power of hindsight to look back at events. For example, maybe there was a person that seemed trustworthy, but in hindsight the signs of their deceit was there. When we look for things like this and find it, our mind is more prepared to see them in the future. But we do need to be very careful not to make sweeping judgements. They can have detrimental effects on our belief system in the future.
Using the prior example about the untrustworthy person: If we make a sweeping judgement that says, “I will never trust a man again.” That’s trouble. There are thousands and millions of trustworthy men in the world who are protectors and lovers. However, when we instruct our mind to believe that men are untrustworthy, it is all our mind can focus on and therefore attract.
5. What would I like to do differently in the future?
This is where it gets interesting! This is where the time to envision our new future. Here we decide what we are going to do when anything similar happens again.
It is important here to make a game plan and strategy. Even down to different things of what to say or do—or not say or do. It might be about the type of people we let into our lives, or promising to trust that niggling feeling that we ignored before (this is how intuition is developed).
Remember To Repeat!
The most important thing here is to remember that it is not a switch. It is a practice we repeat over and over. Next time, we might adjust a little and still get it wrong! Damn failure! It happens. This is where kindness to the situation and to our human experience is paramount. We don’t use kindness just to feel good. It has a psychological benefit. When we use compassion, we release resistance. The more we berate ourselves, even if we think we deserve it, the more we reinforce those parts we dislike, and the more we are be prone to fail.
These are the goto questions for changing your life one day at a time. There are many other great quantum techniques such as EFT Tapping, but even these tools benefit from asking these five questions. The more we use them with compassion, the greater our personal evolution. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we have the power to make significant changes in our life through trial and error? It turns out that failure might not be so bad after all, if it can really teach us so much!
Author: Kai-Ashley Clifford
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Chris Potter