This week has been one of those weeks. You know exactly the kind I’m talking about; you slip and fall on the ice, get splashed by a car driving by, your hand gets caught in a door, you smack your head on your desk, you miss your bus, you get discouraging news at work, not to mention your personal life isn’t exactly coming up roses. Ok so maybe I’m projecting just a little bit but in terms of sucky (yes I’m using that as a unit of measurement) annoyingness, my week has been pretty high up there. The good thing about these kinds of weeks is that they’re great learning experiences full of teachable moments.
The first thing I try to remember when this stuff happens is to not take it personally. Yes crappy unfortunate stuff happens all the time; no it is not always my fault. I tend to get very “all or nothing” with my successes and failures and that definitely isn’t the best way to go. To me, succeeding occurred when the whole goal was completed. At any point along the way, if there was a misstep, even if I was able to correct it, I would consider that a failure. I forgot to appreciate that everything comes together as a process. And with that process it is important to appreciate the successes no matter how small, and to not take the failures to heart but rather use them as something to build upon and learn from.
A very important thing to do is to actively look for the “learn from” moments. Too often in the past I’ve just felt defeated and tried to forget about my errors; this is the wrong move. Now I’m not saying to just mope in our failures and feel like we’re drowning in our failure but there is a helpful element to thinking about our failures. Looking back on what we’ve done we can look for what worked and what didn’t. When we find what didn’t work, we can look further into it and see what can be learned from and improved upon. No action is a waste; every failed endeavour can be used as a stepping stone towards our goals. In any event we just need to be willing to accept the tools we are given, however they are given to us.
One of the tools life gives us that we often overlook is the knowledge of others. Many people we may or may not know personally have gone through what we’re going through. These people may have achieved what we are striving for and who better to learn from than someone who’s achieved success where you want it? What’s more, these people have also gone through the obstacles and failures associated with achieving their goals. This means that they can give you insights on the failures, and how to overcome them and not lose focus or hope on your goal.
For myself, the most important thing is to remember where I started. At the beginning of every journey I don’t know much about the task I’m undertaking; and it is through experience, successes, and failures, that I learn what it takes to be successful at my undertaken task. It is essential that I remember how far I have gone throughout the process and be thankful for the journey. As long as I remain humble and grateful for the lessons and experiences, I will always be able to improve upon my given task. If I remain thankful I can ensure that my desire for ongoing success and improvement never cease.
With all the negativity we see around us: in the news, at our jobs, or even within ourselves, at times it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook. For myself I employ a variety of tools to stay as positive as I can. I remember that not everything negative that happens is my fault, or within my control. I always try to look back on my failures or missteps to try and find the lessons within them. I also try to learn from others who have lived through the challenges I’m trying to overcome. Finally, I remember to stay humble and never forget where I started, how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go. No matter how many hiccups come along on the journey, all we have to do is look for the positive, and in the words of a very wise blue fish, just keep swimming.