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Why You Should Celebrate Your Failures

Why You Should Celebrate Your Failures

Trying and failing at something is no fun. We feel upset, disappointed, and sometimes even angry. The problem with this reaction to failure is that it shuts us down and makes us not want to try anymore, and that’s what leads to true failure: a lack of further attempts. On the other hand, if we can learn to celebrate our failures as steps toward eventual success, we will continue to put in effort, keep trying, and eventually achieve the results we want. We’re talking about resilience and perseverance here.

Current research shows that these qualities have been linked to a greater degree of lifelong success; people who exhibit resilience and perseverance are more likely to graduate from high school and college, more likely to find and keep a good job, and more likely to report higher degrees of happiness overall.

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How can you develop more resilience and perseverance than you currently have? Here’s a step-by-step guide that may help you:

Step One

The first step is to recognize that resilience and perseverance are qualities you’d like to develop further. Acknowledging a desire to change is the first step toward transformation.

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Step Two

Be aware of what your current reaction to “failure” is. Do you freak out? Do you throw things? Yell? Do you engage in negative self-talk like telling yourself you’re no good, or that you’ll never be able to do something? This is great information to have so that you can create a plan that will eliminate your negative behaviors and replace them with a more resilient outlook.

Step Three

Decide how you’d like to react instead. For instance, you can decide that the next time you fail to make it to a meeting on time, you’ll choose to breathe, relax, and acknowledge your lateness, rather than being overly apologetic and berating yourself internally. Or, if you’ve failed to do something you said you’d do, you can simply apologize and re-commit.

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Some people find it easier to make a change when they’re held accountable by a friend, coach, or mentor, and often, implementing a consequence can help you overcome a stubborn bad habit. A friend of mine agreed to put $50 in the office party fund every time he was late to a meeting—he wasn’t late often after that!

Step Four

Decide on a set of inspiring quotes or mantras that you can employ if you’re unable to stop the negative behavior. These might be statements like, “If I keep at it long enough, I’m bound to succeed.” Or “The more effort it takes, the more I will learn along the way.” The key here is that these mantras are actually exciting and inspiring to you. Keep them in your pocket, phone or somewhere you can access them any time, and refer to them whenever you’re feeling shut down by failure.

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Step Five

Don’t forget to give yourself some props when you make progress. Personal growth can become tedious if we forget to notice our progress. So instead of constantly reaching for the next accomplishment, try celebrating your successes. “Wow! I usually break something when I get that upset, but this time, I only thought about breaking something!”

Step Six

Lastly, learn to see the silver lining behind every “failure.” Challenges make us work harder, learn more, become stronger, and stretch our capacities—that’s all really great stuff! When we can experience a bump in the road and actually celebrate it, we know we’re on track to doing great things.

I mean, think about it; do you think Michael Jordan could have achieved what he has without celebrating his failures? No way! Jordan sees every failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Now I know you want to be a superstar at your life. So, start celebrating your successes AND your failures and go out there and change the world!

 

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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