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Why You Should Celebrate Your Failures

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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.

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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 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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