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How Can We Embrace Failure to Better Both Ourselves and Others?

How Can We Embrace Failure to Better Both Ourselves and Others?

In Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K Rowling, she presents words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in their life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others? Having the braveness to fail, she states, is as crucial to an excellent life as any traditional measure of fulfilment; imagining ourselves in the lives of some other–especially someone less fortunate than ourselves–is a uniquely human trait to be nurtured at all costs.

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    Benefits of failure

    The two themes in this book are the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. This is not a dull, formal speech as she uses examples of events from her own life, humour, and her unique, imaginative story-telling to captivate her audience.

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    One of the messages of the book is to always follow your dreams. If you know that there is something that you are especially good at and want to do, then you should try to do it. She says that her parents didn’t want her to write books because they thought she would not earn enough money. However, when she did stick to her dream she became extremely successful. It is inspirational that, using her own imagination and hard work, she went from being extremely poor to being incredibly successful.

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    Importance of imagination

    Rowling empathises with, but doesn’t romanticise, those in poverty: “Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts—that is something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.” She gives her readers permission to fail: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” And most importantly, she emphasises that imagination isn’t a first-world luxury.

    Reading duration: 1 hour 39 minutes

    While she is well-known for Harry Potter, JK Rowling has undoubtedly one of the most influential success stories in the world. Get Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination from Amazon at $8.04

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    Last Updated on July 4, 2019

    7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

    7 Signs You’re Burnt Out and How to Bounce Back

    Has the possibility of becoming burned out ever came across your radar?

    Burn out can happen to any of us. It can happen as a direct result of a toxic work environment or it can creep up on us as we pour all of our energy into doing the work that we love. Either way, when signs of burnout become apparent, they tend to look the same. Furthermore, adjustments must be made to reverse burnout and to prevent it again in the future.

    Behaviors and habits that can lead to burnout include staying up long nights working on projects, saying yes to every request or opportunity, taking on extra work from co workers, and decreasing connections with your family and friends outside of work.

    Outside forces such as ineffective leadership, unclear expectations, toxic work culture, persistent high workload, and no room for growth can all add to burn out.

    When signs of burn out set in, you slowly start to do things differently. There’s a chance you may not even realize what is happening.

    Keep in my mind that burn out may mimic other conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. Please see your trusted health care provider to rule out any of these conditions.

    Keep reading for some key signs of burnout:

    1. Poor Performance and Loss of Self Confidence

    Noticeable declines in work performance and confidence in your ability to complete previously mastered assignments are signs of burnout.

    The pace of the work environment can seem faster and more demanding than ever. The goal of you doing world-class work may diminished to hopes of you barely getting by. You may have decided that staring into space or searching for a new job seems like a better alternative to working.

    Poor work performance can become a routine and often leaves the person wondering how did this become a problem in the first place. You may even think that your boss will call you out on your performance sooner than later.

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    How to Bounce Back:

    Think back to the motivation you had when you were hired or when you were getting your job done with ease. Think about your thoughts and actions that allow you to perform well. The ability to perform at or around this level is still within reach.

    Make a plan to eliminate distractions at work. Also, prior to coming to work make sure you are well rested and are eliminating energy-draining interactions.

    2. Pessimism

    Talking about the amazing work you do has given way to negative talk. Constantly complaining over small tasks that didn’t bother you in the past is a sign of pessimism. Your co -workers may even point out that you have been increasingly negative with your communication lately.

    Your outlook on life, especially work, is in the dumps. It is harder to find positive things to say.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Even in the midst of burnout, your time should be spent on forward-moving thoughts.

    Change the way you are looking at your current situation. Your body will do everything in its power to make sure that your actions are in alignment with your mindset and thoughts.

    Therefore, thoughts that are negative and self-defeating will need to undergo a productive reframe. A high level of awareness must be initiated. Self coaching yourself through negative thinking can be the first step in awareness.

    When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, first ask yourself “How does this make me feel?” Then, decide if those feelings will push you closer towards your goals and priorities or keep you from taking action.

    If your thoughts are not forward moving, ask yourself what does thinking and feeling the opposite of this look like? It may seem awkward at first, but keep at it until positive thoughts are at the forefront of your thinking once again.

    3. Feeling Unfulfilled

    Sometimes, the workplace is known for being a fast pace, high-stress environment. Feeling like you’re part of the team and your contributions matter to your team can really help increase your level of fulfillment.

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    We all have things we’re good at or interested in. When our talents and strengths are highlighted in an environment, we will thrive as we get things done.

    When we are constantly left out of vital conversations, we will feel irrelevant and as if things are happening to us and not on behalf of us.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Talk to the person in charge and discuss your concerns. Confiding in a trusted and knowledgeable co-worker prior to meeting with your boss will help to make your communication with your boss fair and objective.

    Set goals and deadlines with your boss or team leader to help increase your fulfillment. Follow up with your plan of action on your goals.

    Keep in mind that there will be some level of compromise but making your boss aware of your viewpoint and feelings is a major step in feeling fulfilled and feeling like a contributing member of your team.

    4. Poor Sleep Quality

    Staying up late at night, tossing and turning, thinking about your day’s work can really affect your sleep quality. Studies have shown that just a few hours of missed sleep is detrimental to our performance and mental capacity.[1]

    How to Bounce Back:

    Try setting a bedtime routine and stick to it. Make sure that your bedroom environment is supportive of a good night sleep.

    Social media never sleeps and it’s best to cut back or eliminate your social media time about 1 hour before you go to bed. Blue light interferes with your ability to feel sleepy and messes with your sleep cycle.[2] Your electronics can be set to switch to a softer light prior to bedtime.

    5. Dread

    The thought of work sends you into a tailspin of negative thoughts and body sensations. You wonder will this ever end and the amount of tension in your neck is at an all-time high.

    The feeling of dread can make you retreat from your daily activities to ruminate on the idea of returning to work. Feelings of dread steals valuable time.

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    How to Bounce Back:

    Develop a routine to relax and practice deep breathing.

    Consider a small breathing exercise that you can practice at work if dread or overwhelm creeps in. Go into an empty room or the bathroom, close your eyes, and take 10 big deep breaths. Control your breathing as you inhale and fully exhale. Notice what time of the day you are needing to step away to take breath and start scheduling your routines.

    Neck massages at bedtime or therapeutic massages may also help to relax your body and prepare you for the work week ahead. Keep in mind that self care is a necessity.

    6. You Lash out More

    You notice that you are short tempered and lash out at your loved ones more than usual. When you are experiencing burn out, you may find yourself less patient about certain things and snapping at your loved ones.

    You know they don’t deserve this treatment and you want to get this behavior in check so that you can restore the loving supportive environment you are used to having.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Be aware that your loved ones may not understand how your work environment is affecting you.

    Consider how you would feel if you were the recipient of irritable interactions when you didn’t have the whole picture of what was happening.

    Take time to explain your situation with your support system. Also, seek services through your work or independently in order to preserve the relationships within your support system.

    Your love ones are there to support you. They should not be the expert to get your thoughts and feelings in check- neither should they be expected to fulfill this role.

    7. Exhaustion

    Does the phrase this job is “sucking the life out of me” ring a bell? Mental exhaustion is totally apparent when work has taken its toll on you.

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    Being too tired to do simple house chores or attend events that you once loved is a sign of exhaustion.

    How to Bounce Back:

    Set small goals to take action daily on your priorities. If your priorities include keeping a clean living area or hanging out with your friends once a week, stick to your plans.

    You will find that your mood is improved and you are not as drained once you are doing things in alignment with your goals and priorities.

    The Bottom Line

    Burn out can creep up on you. It can be caused by personal behaviors, habits, or toxic work environments. Regardless of the factors that lead to burnout, the signs of burnout are the same.

    Awareness is the first step of knowing what is happening. The next step is taking action based on the specific signs you are displaying.

    Recovery from burnout may look like identifying the culprit that caused you to burn out so that you can continue making progress in your work.

    Recovery can also require you to make a strategic exit from your current situation to restore your peace of mind and fully recover—and never look back.

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    Featured photo credit: Niklas Hamann via unsplash.com

    Reference

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