Acting from a place of “Fear of Failure” is life’s true “F-Bomb”(squared). It is our true self-imposed biological weapon of choice and the most executed act of terrorism across humanity. Amazingly our neuro-programming and intrinsic brain wiring is often more technical and stubborn to re-route than a tangible weapon of warfare.
In our brains, there are two different systems for negative and positive stimuli. The amygdala uses approximately two thirds of its neurons to detect negative experiences, and once the brain starts looking for bad news, it is stored into long-term memory quickly. Positive experiences have to be held in our awareness for more than 12 seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.
Our brains are like magnets for negative experience integration and repellants for positive experience integration. This hardly seems fair, right? The simple explanation reverts back to our Cro-Magnon kin and their critical need to remember environmental dangers (e.g. saber-toothed tigers) and other life threatening caveman variables. Hence is the reason why our failures are always held near and not so dear to our hearts.
The traditional definition of FAILURE:
- lack of success; failing
- unsuccessful person or thing
Nothing sends horror through our human psyche more that the prospective thought of Failure. The true F-word. The red mark of shame. Decades of and academic conditioning bring this to light in the most visceral sense.
Albeit frightening, failure is a developmental necessity. A bearer of resilience, vital strength, and wisdom. There is not a soul on this earth who is immune. As a matter of fact, the majority of those iconic individuals whom we send our gaze of admiration up to the high heavens over have fought many battles ending in temporary failure. They have experienced this unbalancing and humiliating spear to the ego, swallowed the sharpness, and integrated its edges.
It takes many life lessons to realize that failure is not our enemy…inertia is. Cowering beneath those low hanging clouds of comfort within our emotional atmosphere. Staying incubated, stagnant from growth, resistant to new opportunities may feel good in the moment. But when we our eyes are wide open with pure consciousness: are we truly happy? Comfortable? At ease? Most likely the very opposite if we dig deep.
There is also a drought of “high fives for failure” on social media. (Almost) no one posts about the time they gave a badly received presentation…the angst they have with their spouse….the financial loss they endured because of an investment gone awry….skipping the gym or yoga for a month and living on sugar, carbs, and caffeine due to depression and self-deprecating thoughts…..or sitting at home in fear of venturing out into the world, being aversive to love or friendship. “Instafilters” always add the glow of peaceful illusion and a layer of social artifice. Functioning as a virtual oxymoron they inspire as much as they dishearten and reinforce internal critique.
Risking a little or maybe a LOT…..Daring to enact a dream… Experiencing a failure and trying again….and maybe again for the 2nd or 22nd time…..THIS is where the true magic happens.
The magic does not happen through chance, the easy, the automatic, the effortless achievement. One of my guilty pleasures is the HBO series “Game of Thrones”. As gritty and gruesome as this fictional saga is, many of its characters do a stellar job humanizing the concept of failure. They have often failed multiple times and have come to embody progressive greatness as a byproduct of their failure. One of my favorite little warriors, Arya Stark, was attacked, blinded, abandoned, poisoned, and nearly killed. Yet despite these setbacks she continued to champion her cause driven by her heart and intuition.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. And the worst thing you can do is nothing – Theodore Roosevelt
And sometimes there is no “right way”….and maybe not a “wrong way” either. There is just a “way”.
I am not saying: take impulsive risks or chances that exceed your good judgement! Rather, help your heart manifest it’s true desires and bring greater fulfillment, purpose, and meaning to this ONE BEAUTIFUL LIFE we have been blessed to design this go around!!
As you make your way through this day and this week focus on reframing your perceptions of failure and tap into your inner passion & fierce W A R R I O R energetics! Give the true F bomb the other F bomb right on back and dismantle its control over your cognitions.
OUR Definition of FAILURE:
- the starting line
- part of process
- on the path to success.
I acknowledge with deep gratitude your failures and successes with equal measure (as well as my own!)