Failure is never welcome and it is an unpleasant experience. Not just for you but it can affect others around you. You don’t always have control of external factors when things fail or when difficult things happen in life but one thing you can control, more than anything is how you react to them.
Failure can make your mind play tricks on you and make you believe things that simply aren’t true. Unless you learn to respond psychologically you will become paralyzed by fear, you will feel demotivated, and you will severely damage your likelihood of success next time around with similar circumstances or behaviours.
Psychologically understanding the impact it has on you, how it affects your thoughts, emotions and behaviours are so important.
Here are ten real facts about failure that will help you turn a difficult and painful experience into a potentially constructive and useful one.
1. Failure changes our perspective on similar goals. Failing at one goal can dramatically change our perspective on other similar goals. When we believe a goal to be hard to obtain, to be further from our grasp, we are more likely to fail. Failure creates a distorted view and perspective. The goal itself hasn’t become harder, it physically can’t do that, it is our view that has changed. Remembering this and choosing to ignore this distorted view is the only way to avoid this trick of the mind.
2. Failure also changes our beliefs in our abilities. Not only does failure make us believe that our goals are hard to obtain, but they also threaten our own beliefs in our abilities. Making you feel like you aren’t good enough to reach that goal. Failure can make you question everything from your skills to intelligence and can get you to question every aspect of your character. Once you know and understand that it is your mind looking for the reason for the failure and not that you have less value now than before, only then can you move on from it.
3. Failure leaves you with a feeling of helplessness. Failure creates emotions inside of us and a way that our mind works to protect us is to cause a feeling of hopelessness. It is a way of the mind tricking us into believing that it isn’t worth trying again and avoid that hurt. We shouldn’t listen to this because it would mean that we would never try again.
4. It only takes one experience of failure to create a fear of failing. Most fears are on a subconscious level. This means that we don’t think about these fears and how founded they are. We don’t address if that fear is real or unfounded. Again fear is an emotion that stops us from ever starting something to protect us from the hurt if we fail in the future. Addressing these fear in the conscious mind will allow us to confront them and overcome them.
5. Fear of failure often leads to unconscious self-sabotaging. Unconscious self-sabotaging is a common way people protect themselves against future failures. They create excuses and reasons why they failed. It is based on circumstantial evidence. This can also lead to physical ailments that make it hard to concentrate or that they find reasons to be doing something else rather than focussing n the task at hand. Recognising the signs of self-sabotage means that you can confront them early.
6. Fear of failure is inherited from parents. Children grow up with examples from parents long before they can recognise them for what they are. When parents have a fear of failing children will learn through behaviours that this is the way to act and respond to failure. In essence, fearing failure in their adult lives.
7. Folding under the pressure of performance anxiety. Performance anxiety kicks in when overthinking starts. We set high expectations and when we start to feel like we are failing to meet those expectations. Remember that this is the pressure you are putting yourself under and that it is overthinking that is causing it to be worse than it is and creating scenarios in your mind.
8. Coping with overthinking. Overthinking happens most when the mind is not active enough and allows unwanted thoughts to enter. One way to deal with this is to occupy with something that will stimulate and refocus the mind. Something as simple as singing your favourite song out at top volume will help
. 9. Willpower is not enough. Willpower alone will not stop you from entertaining thoughts of failure. Willpower takes energy and unless replenished it will eventually diminish to the point it is no longer effective. Setting up habits and routines is critical. Practice and develop self-discipline.
10. The healthiest response to failure is to focus on what is in your control. When you accept that very little is in your control you can start to act on those small things that will make a big difference.
Break down everything into small steps and focus on each of those rather than the overwhelming bigger picture.
Focus on your reactions and the emotions you exhibit. Maintain your mental strength and recognise the signs then take steps to negate them.
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