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3 Powerful Reasons Why I Love to Fail (and Why You Should Too)

3 Powerful Reasons Why I Love to Fail (and Why You Should Too)

You know the feeling. The feeling you get when you fail miserably at something. That gut-sinking, desperate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll-never-amount-to-anything feeling. It’s awful, isn’t it?

In fact, some days it’s so awful that you don’t even want to get out of bed. The shame, embarrassment, and fear are harsh reminders that maybe you don’t have what it takes to succeed. Sometimes you even wonder if you should give up on your goals and dreams altogether. But you shouldn’t. And here’s why.

You can achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of by mastering one fundamental skill.

Failure: Study It, Understand It, Learn From It

Why is failure considered so bad? We seem to have a problem with failure. In the sense that failure is seen as the thing that must NOT happen at any cost. Too many people don’t want to focus on failure because it is often equated to weakness.

However, the truth is – failure happens to everyone. It happens in different areas of life and is not contained to high-stakes testing.

Some failures are bigger than others. Some are more public than others. Some are more humiliating than others. And some have a greater stigma around them. But failure does not need to set you back. It can catapult you into the future you’ve always wanted.

In fact, the only thing that separates people who succeed from those who don’t is a proper understanding of the power of failure. Successful people will tell you failure, is not only good, it’s also necessary.

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Failure might be a good teacher, but it’s also a cryptic one. Figuring out it’s lessons is no easy task. To be able to learn from failure, you need a way to decode the teachable moments “hidden” within them.

Here’s how to decode the valuable lessons of failure…

1. Study It

Start by analyzing your failures. Failure can constitute feedback regarding what you’re doing wrong, which permits you to adjust your actions until you do things right. But, many of us aren’t willing to look at our own mistakes. It makes us feel bad. However, in order to get a deep learning experience from failure we need to study them attentively, without falling to the other extreme and obsessing over them.

Study the facts. The fact is that there was a failure: you didn’t get the job, you didn’t make the sale, the relationship didn’t work out, and so on. Those are facts. That’s how you study failure. Anything beyond that is an interpretation, a meaning you’re giving to the situation.

2. Understand It

Failure is an opportunity, not a burden. It’s NOT the opposite of success. Failure is a bridge to success. It’s an initiation rite, the necessary steps you must take no matter how hard, no matter how tenuous.

Failure is NOT about making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable and part of the journey. Mistakes are lessons. They’re stepping stones. They’re guideposts. If you don’t make mistakes you will not achieve anything. On the other hand, REAL failure is when you walk away from an opportunity. When you give up on your dreams to do something more “practical.” Failure is when you take the “sad sap” route, throw yourself a “pity party” and focus on thoughts about why you’re not good enough.

If you change the way you view failure and understand it for the life-changing experience it is, you can begin to take advantage of all the benefits that come along with it.

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3. Learn From It

Failure offers great learning lessons if you choose to approach it with a positive attitude. You can only receive what failure has to teach if you’re willing to fully embrace the failure itself. There’s no other way of learning other than by making mistakes. Failure teaches you that success rarely comes in the form of a “big break.” More often than not, it comes after months, even years of hard work.

Failure teaches you to try many avenues before giving up on reaching a goal because there’s usually more than one way to get there.

Failure can teach you where you went wrong in the first place and how you can pick yourself up again in a pursuit to succeed.

Failure can teach you that you’re not bad at something, just that you have to try a different method to find success.

Failure can reveal critical errors in your thinking, approach or game-plan and force you to make necessary adjustments. It may close one door, but will open another that’s better suited for your success.

There are always a million reasons to quit. But one reason to go on. You’ll have a happier more fulfilled life if you try your best to study, understand and learn from failure. Great. So now that we’re clear on that, why should you love to fail?

Here’s why…

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3 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Love to Fail

Success takes willpower, intelligence, determination and grit. But above all else, success requires failure.

Failure is the blacksmith’s hammer that tempers the sword of success.

Reason #1: Failure Means You’re Trying

Success is a moment. It’s fleeting, you work so hard for it but you will rarely savor it. But what really matters, isn’t success, it’s trying. Success is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s constantly trying to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

If you haven’t failed yet, chances are you aren’t trying very hard.

When you stop trying, you allow opportunity to pass you by. But when you try, you push yourself to dream, to do better, to look beyond the present and ultimately embrace the moment you are blessed to live in. So keep trying. Keep pushing. Keep believing in dreams that others don’t think are possible.

Reason #2: Failure Builds Character

Character in life is what makes people believe in you and is essential for individual success. It’s the most important trait you can have and takes a lifetime to build but can be lost in an instant.

A person with good character finds acceptance wherever he goes and is respected by all. In addition, character can help you develop a pleasant personality.

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Nothing is more important for true success in life. Life is nothing without it.

Failure helps you build character because it sheds light to who you currently are. Failure can show you if you give up, complain or blame others. This can help you make adjustments in your character so that you become successful.

Reason #3: Failure Helps You Overcome Fear

Fear is a useless emotion. It does nothing but cause negative effects. The feeling of fear is not productive, nor is it a necessary or important part of achieving success. Fear limits your full potential. It’s pervasive. And if you let it, fear can haunt everything you do.

Fear does not contribute to life, but rather it takes away so much from life. It takes away chances, experiences, choices, dreams, hopes, love, friendships, connections, possibilities… Fear is an anchor that must be cast off in order to live your life in the most honest, real and successful way possible.

As you begin to fail more and more, you start fearing less and less. And when fear drops low enough, you’ll reach a point where it’s no longer preventing you from taking action.

Failure is the Beginning of Success

Ninety percent of times, fear of failure is entirely internal. It really is. It’s you second-guessing yourself on something that you know you can do. Why do you know you can do it? Because you conceived the idea. It wouldn’t be possible if you couldn’t think of it. Let’s face it, if you want to accomplish something in life, even something huge, the answer to do that is already out there.

So, how could you fear failing, when failing is so important to success?

It doesn’t matter if you tried and failed a dozen times. Those failures just told you what doesn’t work. The difference lies in your response to failure. Most will give up. Most will cave in. Most won’t stick it out. But you do. And that is the difference. Success is what comes after you have survived all your failures. You have to fight through the bad days so you can earn the best days of your life. Success is what happens when you stick it out! Grind it out! And that is why I love to fail.

How about you? Do you love to fail?

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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