August 31: Failing Forward

“Falling forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.” – John C. Maxwell

Depending on our beliefs surrounding failure, we may give up trying something again after we fail at it, not wanting to look foolish, weak, or stupid.  OR, we may use the experience as fuel and encouragement to try again, believing we will get better at the thing we failed at, each time we try again.  Choosing to be an unconquerable, resilient, indomitable, persistent and relentless soul, not caring about how we look more than we care about the desired end result, can be a useful and empowering tool!

When my three sons were younger, and when I was less experienced as a human and as a father, my belief system would have led me to scream and yell and become extremely upset.  I would have used fear and become very angry and showed that anger in order to convey my displeasure and try to control and manipulate my boys into working harder, trying different things, or getting a better grade next time.  This is one approach I have used in the past.  It is sometimes effective, but lacks emotional maturity and compassion.

One of my sons once failed the first quarter of a science class in High School.  This time I decided to take another approach, simply because I have been exposing myself to new belief systems and ways of thinking, through reading books and listening to people who I view as smarter, wiser, and more knowledgeable, experienced and successful than me.  Come to find out, there are a lot of those people out there.  I honestly wish I would have come to this realization much sooner in life, rather than believing that my way was the best and only way, and that I didn’t need to change, improve, grow, progress, or evolve, because I already had everything figured out.

After I got over my initial disappointment and frustration, I realized that he, too, was disappointed, frustrated, and angry.  He usually works hard and gets good grades.  This time he worked hard and failed.  I pointed out to him that the fact that it mattered to him and that he cared and tried his best is what I cared about the most.  We celebrate our successes, and when we fail, we put it on ourselves!  If he didn’t care that he failed, that would have been a problem.  So, I told him it was important to put it on himself.

Accepting responsibility and trying something different next time is an effective tool, and a key to succeeding where we once failed.

Reminder to self:  Never quitting is the key.  “Failure,” is a part of the learning process.  Failure is important, and vital to experience throughout our lives.  Quitting is permanent.  Quitting is what needs to be looked at as never, ever, being an option.  Rest, regroup, adjust, pivot, recalibrate, and try again, but don’t ever quit!

I explained to my son that school and grades weren’t everything, and CERTAINLY not a yardstick with which to measure one’s value and worth as a human being.  While school may be very important tool, and good grades may alter his future successes in school, I let him know that the most important things to me, for him, was that he was good, kind, honest, hard-working, ready at all times to protect others, while practicing love, empathy, and understanding.  I let him know that these were the things that would get him further in life than any of his grades.  He thanked me for telling him that.  His demeanor and countenance changed, immediately.  It made me wish I had learned how to be honest much sooner, and more capable of communicating in this way much earlier.

Sometimes, a simple shift in perspective takes all the negative, discouraging, dis-empowering, useless pressure off of us.

Character counts.  Mindset matters.

Failures are the necessary key to future successes.  We grow from them.  We learn from them.  We improve because of them.  Failures are a necessary part of this life, if we are to grow and become stronger, wiser, better versions of ourselves.

The second quarter of his science class, he recommitted to working harder and studying more, and he did extremely well, easily passing the semester.  What if I had shamed and diminished him?

Today I will look at my failures with appreciation and realize and remember that because of them I have improved.  I will not be afraid to fail again and I will not quit when I fail.  I will adapt.  I will improve.  I will succeed.  I will repeat this process each day of my life.  I AM RELENTLESS.  I AM PERSISTENT.

Many times in our lives, our failures we experience cause us extreme pain and suffering, causing us to become more self-aware.  Tim Storey explains how to gain and take full advantage of the self-awareness that comes through failure in his interview on Tom Bilyeu’s YouTube show, IMPACT THEORY.

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Remember:  Mindset matters.  Character counts.  That which we choose to consistently focus on is what EXPANDS in our lives.  WE CREATE our realities.

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