The topic of failure came up yesterday at jiujitsu and reminded me of the LL Bean video.
“Failure is not part of the process, it is the process"
We all fail consistently of course, whether we are aware of it or not. It';s one of those human things. If you're doing something hard, or even just new, we fail. Sometimes hard. We all know this. The rub comes when the one failing is us.
We are adults so we've learned and practiced all sorts of innocent sounding ways of avoiding negative feelings. We get defensive - "I was under the impression..." "But you..." trying to explain why turns into excuses. "Well I'm just doing the best I can... " can be used as a way of avoiding necessary changes. We complain - identifying problems without contributing to solutions. We use all the types of unhealthy coping mechanisms to regulate our negative emotions. Maybe it's substances, eating, distraction, or procrastinating. Could be exercise, or achievement or proficiency. Rest, and fun. Sarcasm. At the root of the negative feelings can sometimes be the core belief of "I'm bad". When we fail and make a judgement that echoes that, or maybe we hear something that echoes the belief that confirmation is especially painful. It takes intentional work. When we aren't aware of this happening we just react to things instead of being aware. It's a topic for another time, but I think technology use can have a hand in this reaction conditioning too.
"Its not the events that disturb you, but your judgments about them." You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are something we have, ideas formed because our brains are constantly sifting through our circumstances. We have a mind though, and can act on the thoughts that are most beneficial and healthiest. Practicing mindfulness has helped me be aware of my thoughts and identify less with the internal dialogue that happens. It's given me space to find unhealthy thought patterns, and practice reframing things so that I can move along. Its changing my relationship to failure so it doesn’t take so much grit. And grit is more useful used when applied to the change part of the equation. It's also helped me understand other people's reactions and respond more compassionately to them and myself.
Failure is not a personal judgment, it's just a result of actions that aren't achieving the desired outcome. The more impersonal you can make this by changing your relationship to failure, the faster you can adjust and progress. You can reflect this attitude to others around you and encourage them that is ok to fail, own it, assess, and move on.