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The road to success is paved with failures

I am a perfectionist. As a result, whenever I fail, everything around me seems to fall apart. This is why I have been putting my body through a lot of unnecessary stress for many years, and have become vulnerable to disease. Since I could not go on like this, I started to seek help. At the beginning, I used to browse the internet for information; then I began accessing specialized websites. There is plenty of information available – quality information, for that matter.

Take full responsibility for each choice you make

For one thing, Dr. Dan Amzallag, PhD, inspirational speaker and life coach, suggests that I am the only one to decide how I should feel every single day of my life, even when I fail. Just as with everything else in life, I have the maturity to make all the choices I want, as long as I take full responsibility for each choice I make.

Therefore, as Dr. Amzallag says, if I succeed, then Congratulations to me, but if I fail, I must put it behind and move on. “Easy to say, hard to do!” I was tempted to say. My thinking was not correct, though.

To fail means to be unsuccessful. However, Dan Amzallag reinterprets the concept in a positive manner: F.A.I.L. as an acronym for “First Attempt in Learning”. It sounds more than optimistic and is a most telling example about how to turn something negative – even a word with a negative inference – into something positive.

“Failure is not a result of a chain of errors that you’ve made throughout your journey in life, but a process to know what to do when faced again with these same challenges. As long as you do not make these same mistakes again, you are good to go. Provided you learn from your past failures. I am not saying that failure will not hit you again, but it will just hit you in a different form using different hurdles that are unfamiliar to you. From this failure you will learn something you will use in a similar situation”, is Dr. Dan Amzallag’s message.

We hurt ourselves when we criticise

Yet, the following question might arise: “If challenges occur in different forms for the most part, does this mean that my entire life is bound to be a string of failures?”

Not at all! Our failures may be different, but they share certain similarities that will allow you to think of more than one way out of an unpleasant situation.

John C. Maxwell dedicates an entire chapter of his book “The Winning Attitude” to collapsing after a failure. Maxwell states he has learned by experience what a negative outcome can do to a young man. People who plunge enthusiastically into the careers they decide to pursue can easily crash if they fail to understand that the best fruits they can reap are the fruits of the tree of life.

In addition, Maxwell suggests that other people’s criticism may also have a bearing on our attitude towards failure. To demonstrate the extent to which we hurt ourselves when we bother our heads about other people’s negative opinions, he cites the example of Amos, one of the characters of the radio sitcom “Amos ’n’ Andy”:

“Amos was tired of Andy’s constant criticism. Most irritating was Andy’s finger continually thumping on Andy’s chest. One day Amos could take it no more. He bought some dynamite, taped it to his chest and told his friend Kingfish, «The next time Andy starts criticizing and thumping his fingers on my chest, this dynamite is going to blow his hand off!»…” He did not think, of course, what dynamite would do to him.

The moral is that we hurt ourselves when we get to display a negative reaction towards those who criticise us.

Attitude test

Here are three ways to prevent judgmental opinions from sabotaging your attitude:
1. If possible, avoid people who underestimate you. “Small” people will try to take you down, unlike “great” people, who will acknowledge your true value. Achieve personal freedom by trusting who you really are.
2. Ask yourself the following questions: “What bothers me most when someone criticises me? Is it the person who criticises me? Is it the reason they criticise me? Is it the attitude that accompanies the criticism? Is it the place where this happens? Is it the fact that while the criticism comes from different people, it is about the same thing? Is it the fact that it is true? And if it is for well-grounded reasons, am I going to do something about it?”
3. Talk to a friend. Turn to a trusted friend who knows how to listen and to heal. Additionally, do your best to free your mind of negative thoughts all by yourself.

In the end, I will tell you a story that perfectly illustrates the correct attitude towards failure.

A man’s store perished in the Great Chicago Fire. On the following day, he came to the place where his store had stood and set a table among the smoking ruins, with the following notice: “I lost everything except for my wife, my children, and my hope. We will resume our activity tomorrow at the same time”. Now that is a positive attitude!

Unfortunately, as Maxwell says, most of us seem to display the same attitude as the man who had turned 100 years old and, when told by the reporter who had come to interview him: “I am quite certain you have witnessed a lot of changes along these 100 years”, he crossed his hands, clenched his jaw and said: “That’s right! And I’ve grown older with each and every one of them ”.

Dr Dan Amzallag, PhD, MBA, CLC Author/Inspirational Speaker/Life Coach
John C. Maxwell, “The Winning Attitude, Your Key to Personal Success”


You may also want to read:
The four great mental powers
The power our thoughts have upon us

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