There is a story making rounds on the internet about a speaker who holds up a $20 bill to a crowd and asks if anyone wants it. Hands go up. The speaker crumples the bill up and asks if anyone still wants it. Hands go up. He then wads it up, tosses it on the floor, and grinds it under his shoe. Again the question, does anyone want this? Again, all the hands go up.
The moral is: no matter if the bill is dirty, crumpled, or squashed, it still has value.
My take-away: If you have ever been successful at anything, you have within yourself the means of achieving success again.
As we work toward our vision, there are times we feel like we've been crumpled up and squashed under a shoe.
Setbacks have a way of doing that.
Being able to look within and see our inherent value can be difficult.
This is especially true if you are an entrepreneur working solo from home, or maybe you don’t have a support system in place for yourself.
One way to begin to reframe our inherent value is to look at failure differently.
There is a popular story (although likely not completely true) of how it took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he successfully invented the light bulb. He was asked about his 1,000 failures, but Edison chose to focus on the positive claiming now he knew 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.
When you begin to look at failure as a common, no-big-deal occurrence, you are able to push past seeming failures easily and keep your focus on the results you want. If you choose to see failure as a regular part of everyday life, you will not be as affected by it.
Did you leave crumbs on the table after you had your breakfast this morning? That was a failure to keep all your crumbs on your plate, but you didn’t look at it as a failure. Why not? It was.
Have you ever reached for something and missed? Like rushing past the table and trying to grab your keys but missing. Did you feel like a failure? No? You were though.
See, in life we fail all the time. I’ve failed many times just trying to type this post; if you could see my spell check, you would be horrified!
We have conditioned ourselves not to see these little imperfections as failure.
But they are.
We don’t let them bother us at all.
We just need to look at all our failures for what they really are, nothing but crumbs on the table of life. Begin to tell yourself this every time you are tempted to beat yourself up over a “failure” and it will be far less likely that it will become a pattern.
Another great way of getting past failure is by bringing your focus to the progress you are making.
Sometimes I look back over my day and am tempted to start complaining about how little I accomplished. Invariably, I will whine about how my day was unproductive and how I wasted my time.
Occasionally, when I get sucked into the vortex that is Facebook, I am correct in my assessment, but more times than not, I have accomplished a large number of tasks.
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has a reference to video games. He said that the reason the lower levels are so easy is that it allows you to get “quick wins” which pulls you further and further into the game.
Before you know it, you’re invested in it and unwilling to quit.
I think that is a perfect analogy for us to use. In life we need to acknowledge those “quick wins” so that we become invested in our vision.
No matter what part of your vision you are working towards, always evaluate your day and record your wins. You can then use these lists when working with gratitudes or when you are feeling like things aren’t moving in the right direction.
Keeping a master list of your daily accomplishments also allows you to get the 50,000 foot view. Why is this important?
By reviewing where you are and where you have been, you will be able to track your progress. Although we all have times that we feel we will never accomplish our dreams by being able to pull back and see the big picture, we can acknowledge that we are indeed moving forward.
So what can you do today to train your brain that failure is no big deal?
1. Begin to recognize all your little failures.
Write them down for a day or two so you can see how many times you fail every day, and how it doesn’t affect you one little bit.
So far today, I:
- spilled dog food
- slopped egg out of the skillet
- didn't put enough cream in my coffee (and had to go back and add more)
- forgot what I went into the bedroom for...twice
- misspelled at least thirty words in this post typing too fast
And it is only 10:40 a.m. I bet I will have dozens more as the day goes on.
2. Recognize your “quick wins”.
So far I have:
- almost completed a blog post
- cleared my inbox
- scheduled social media posts
- fed my dogs and myself
- taken my vitamins and supplements
3. Keep an eye on the 50k view.
- I am on track for being able to work on a video project this afternoon.
- This means my other weekly projects are also on track as of today.
Let’s see who has the best little failures today.
Share in the comments below what you've failed at today, and remember nothing is too small!