"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure." - Paulo Coelho
You're right. You get an A. Sweet words. We are trained from a young age to seek the approval and positive rewards of being right. The result of this conditioning is that most of us consciously and subconsciously avoid failure more than seek success. Yet what may be perceived as mistakes often lead us to greater success from the lessons we've learned. How do we break that failure avoidance programming so that we can achieve our greatest potential?
Look at failure as a stepping-stone to success. Achieving this new mindset takes effort because we have been conditioned all our lives that success, or actually the absence of apparent mistakes, is what we should strive for. If humankind had maintained only that kind of thinking we would still be living in caves. Trial and error and then more trials and more errors are how we as a species have discovered new and better ways to live and yes, to think.
Here are five ways of assisting your transition from a fear of failure mindset to a quest for success consciousness.
- Regard a mistake/failure as a chance to improve instead of being wrong. Reprogram your mind to think of "NO" as New Opportunities. Remember Edison's perspective in his long search for a suitable element for the light bulb. His attitude after 10,000 failures was that he has significantly increased his chances for finding the proper material. And Dyson's 5,126 attempts before he developed the bagless vacuum cleaner. What if they felt discouraged and quit before they discovered what really worked?
Be gentle on yourself. It would be counterproductive and sad if you inflicted harsh judgment on yourself as you take steps to adopt an attitude of "New Opportunities". Laugh and pick yourself up when you forget and lapse into negative thinking and fear. Or when you miss the mark. Instead assess what went awry, see how you can improve next time, and look for openings in the situation to move forward gracefully and wisely. Remember when children are learning to walk, they fall down numerous times, laugh and pick themselves up to try again and again, until one day they are running and winning marathons.
Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success." - Robert T. Kiyosaki