What can I learn from failure?

The line between success and failure is not always black and white. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of perspective. A process that fails for one aspect of life might be the perfect process when applied to something else.

A realistic approach rather than an idealist approach can sometimes help to see the difference between success and failure a little more clearly. Just because something didn’t work out perfectly doesn’t mean it didn’t work out at all.

Sometimes we have to look a little harder for the silver lining

What can I learn from failure?

Think about Thomas Edison. He didn’t view all the times his lightbulbs didn’t work as failures, he figured he just found a lot of ways that don’t work. He learned from his mistakes and eventually found success.

He had a positive mindset.

I, too, can study the mistakes I made that caused a failure and learn from them so I don’t make them again. Learning is always a positive experience in the long run, even if it stings a little, or a lot, at first.

Failure shows me what doesn’t work so I can move on. As long as I look at failure practically instead of personally, failure can actually be an asset, a wonderful tool for learning.

How can I turn failure into a positive experience?

Failure doesn’t mean I’m bad, or weak, or stupid, or incompetent, it simply means something I did didn’t work. It means I’m human.

It means I have an opportunity to learn and grow.

It means I had an experience that will make me stronger and wiser.

It means I get to try again, this time with more experience and knowledge.

Failure does not define who I am.

A failure doesn’t remain unchanging unless I let it. As long as I can learn from mistakes and keep moving forward, failure will not define me as a person.

If I give up after a failure, that is what defines me. Only if I dwell on the failure, and never move on, will I be defined by failure. It’s all about how I recover and the action steps I take to correct a wrong that will define me.

Not the failure itself.

Failure is not an end all and be all.

It can be changed.

~Thanks for reading,

LC

Expectation Vs. Acceptance

What is Expectation?

The dictionary defines expectation as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; A belief that someone will or should achieve something.”

For me expectation goes hand-in-hand with manipulation and the forcing of my will. Often times it also leads to disappointment. When things go as I expect, great! If they don’t, however, I need to shift into acceptance.

Expectations can sometimes be selfish motives. Sometimes they are just dreams that have been warped into a false sense of reality. When expectations aren’t met disappointment, fear, and anger soon follow…

There’s a saying, “Expect the unexpected”. In my case it’s been for important for me to learn to “Accept the unexpected”. It can be hard when things don’t go as expected. I’ve learned that nothing in life is guaranteed until it’s in the past.

I try to play out alternate scenarios in my head in case things do go awry. That way I’m not as disappointed or angry when they do. When the unexpected happens I quickly look at what I’m grateful for in life. This helps keep me from going down the rabbit hole of worry and despair. If it’s something I can’t do anything about, I have no choice but to accept it, or adapt, because for me, it’s the better alternative. The way I see it is I have three choices: Accept it, adapt to it, or waste my time fighting it to no avail.

What is Acceptance?

The dictionary defines acceptance as “the willingness to tolerate an unpleasant or difficult situation.”

This is a different definition than the one I originally subscribed to, which is, “Agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation.”

I always thought I had to agree with something in order to accept it. Turns out this is not the case. When I think about accepting things by order of this new definition, I find unpleasant and difficult situations to be more bearable. It’s all about perspective.

An attitude of acceptance benefits me by helping keep my mindset in the positive. This has a direct effect on my serenity. It helps keep feelings of disappointment at bay. Knowing that things will work out, and keeping an open mind for when they don’t go as planned helps keep me from entering that awful downward spiral of worry, remorse, regret, and anger.

By keeping my mindset in the positive I’m better able to see different viewpoints and perspectives, and I’m able to see when expectations aren’t met there can be alternatives just as viable if I open my mind. Again, it’s all about perspective.

For me, acceptance goes with positivity, and it helps keep me active and engaged in life at a level that makes arduous times more tolerable. It takes away the fear component and allows me to view things more objectively.

The Difference

In my life, the difference between expectation and acceptance is the difference between anger and happiness. Angst and peace. Self-will and open-mindedness. Idealism and reality.

Do I want to be right? Or do I want to be happy?

I’ve had to learn to accept and adapt to the world as it really is because in reality, things seldom turn out as expected. Sometimes they turn out better, sometimes worse. My happiness, I’ve discovered, comes from the journey, not the destination. The learning and growing involved with the journey come from action, not from paralyzation from fear of the unexpected.

I’ve had to go through a lot of pain and soul searching to realize that acceptance is much better suited for my inner peace and overall happiness than relying on expectations to come true.

 

~Thanks for reading
LC

 

 

**Go back to #4 and #6 after Acceptance

Rejection as a Learning Experience

Rejection might seem like the end of the world but the sting will always pass with time. When I look at rejection from a stance of growth rather than fear, I’m better equipped to learn ways to improve myself. Rejection and failure are not so distant cousins and both provide an opportunity for learning and growth.

Fear of rejection has held me back from countless opportunities because I didn’t want to face the fact that maybe I’m not as awesome as I think I am. However, if I don’t experience rejection occasionally I won’t be able to see flaws in myself or make improvements. Lack of rejection gives me a false sense of perfection that will be damaging in the long run. How I handle rejection is imperative to my spiritual growth. It has helped make me a “grownup.”

The new opportunities rejection can bring are endless. It forces me to consider different ways of doing things, ways that could possibly be even better than before. Giving up on something just because I got rejected is not an option for me anymore. Today I choose not to sit and wallow in my unworthiness. I want to explore new possibilities. Rejection gets me back out there meeting new people, going to different places, and trying out new things. Rejection can be a blessing in disguise. It’s all about what mindset I choose to invoke when dealing with it.

If I utilize the mindset of using rejection as a learning experience rather than an attack on my ego I can gain valuable insights on who I am and how I present to the world. I can learn ways to improve how I act and what I say. I can learn new ways of doing things. Some of these may even be better than how I currently practice. Rejection doesn’t need to be feared. It’s a fact of life. Everyone experiences it. If I fear rejection I fear life, and hiding from my fears isn’t living, so it’s best for me to accept rejection and learn from it rather than fear it, because it’s happened before and it will happen again. When it happens again, I will tweak my performance and carry on. I have to remember that just because I got rejected doesn’t mean I’m “less than.” It just means I wasn’t a good fit for a particular person, place, or thing.

Acknowledge it, learn from it, let it go.

Learning how to accept rejection has been a crucial part of my personal growth. First, I had to realize rejection isn’t actually an assault on my ego. Often times rejection actually has nothing to do with me. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I can accept rejection better by getting in the right mindset first. I have to let go of any and all expectations I have of whatever the outcome will be. If I obsess over it, the more disappointed I’ll be when I get rejected. I don’t seek a reason for the rejection. All I have to do is respect the other person’s wishes. If I get a reason, great! I can learn from it. There’s no reason to create more misery for myself or the other person by asking why. The sooner I can let it go, the sooner I can move on with my life. No need to get sucked into the vortex of resentments and fear.

I accept rejection for my own peace of mind. If I give power to rejections I am certain to be cast into a vicious downward spiral with no end in sight. If I want to be an adult I have to accept the fact that things won’t always go my way. That’s just a fact of life, and I can’t take it personally.

When facing rejection there are things I can do to ease the discomfort. I can meditate on it, ask my higher power for guidance, let it go, and move on. I can prioritize things more important than fixating on the “why” of a rejection so I can learn from it and grow into a stronger, more resilient adult.

I can now recognize that when one door closes, another opens. I shift my focus to the next right thing. Experience has taught me the more I obsess over something the more miserable I get. I take action to get out of my own head rather than dwell on “what if”.

~Thanks for reading
LC

The Power of “The Pause”

Somewhere in my recovery I learned about a powerful tool that I like to call The Pause. I figured out, with some help, that I didn’t always need to reply with a quick snarky answer, or any answer at all in some cases. The Pause has kept me out of a lot of trouble since I started using it…

The trouble with it is actually remembering to use it. In the heat of the moment it’s easy for me to just blurt something out that may or may not be helpful or kind. I keep practicing though, pausing before I speak or act out, and it is now becoming almost second nature.

I try to ask myself and answer the 3 questions guaranteed to keep me in line:

1. Does it need to be said?

2. Does it need to be said now?

3. Does it need to be said by me?

When I’m irritated at a person or situation, the answer to all three of these questions is usually “no.” I can save myself a lot of grief later by utilizing The Pause and keeping my mouth shut now. The same principle can be applied to actions, not just words.

Another helpful set of questions I can ask myself before speaking that has been shared with me is T.H.I.N.K.

1. Is it True?

2. Is it Helpful?

3. Is it Inspiring?

4. Is it Necessary?

5. Is it Kind?

Practicing The Pause has helped make me a better person, and happier as well. It has enabled me to open my mind to other ideas because I’m not using my brain to quickly come up with a quick retort or snappy comeback.

The Pause has been an essential tool in my spiritual toolkit. It has saved me from having to make thousands of apologies and amends for my words and actions, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

Just practice.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Why I Keep My Trash Can Clean

Emotional garbage can fester and eventually stink up everything around it. Keeping spiritually fit and conducting a daily inventory of my actions, thoughts, and feelings every day is imperative to my overall happiness.

Much like the physical garbage can in my kitchen, my mind and body accumulate trash. Poor eating, poor thinking, and poor actions build up a kind of filmy layer of scum that is much easier to clean and sanitize than if it’s left to rot.

My daily inventory includes reflection and ideas for action. I identify the character defects in play and then look at the opposites.

Resentments, anger, jealousy, condescending thoughts and words, arrogance, hatred, fear, frustration, selfishness, hard-headedness, guilt, sarcasm, hurt pride… These are all things I need to be wary of because these are the things that run me off the rails and into a severe downward spiral if left unchecked.

What are the opposites of these?

Resentment :: Contentment, Happiness

I’ve discovered it is possible to choose joy, live in happiness, and to love and be loved.

Anger :: Calm

Deep breathing exercises and taking the time to re-center myself help with this. Anger and resentments are luxuries I can’t afford.

Jealousy:: Admiration

What can I learn from this person? What do they have I don’t? What is it about them I can emulate to improve myself ?

Condescend:: Respect

It’s important to show people respect even when I don’t like them. I can learn something from someone even if I don’t think they possess the same level of education or experience as I have. At the very least I can learn what not to do, and show them the same courtesy I would to those I actually do respect. Perhaps by setting a good example I’ll be able to be helpful to them

Arrogance :: Humility, Modesty

It helps me to remember we are all human and that mistakes will be made daily. No one is perfect, even me. First I have to learn to give myself a break. When I can forgive myself for my imperfections, it makes it easier to forgive others for theirs.

Hatred :: Love

I don’t have to like everyone, but I have to love them. My sanity and sense of well being depend on it. Hatred is a very heavy load to carry around all the time. It will wear me down in a very short time if I don’t keep it in check. It’s also a lot easier to hate than to love, which is why this is something that requires constant vigilance.

Fear :: Faith, Calmness, Confidence

I connect with my higher power on a daily basis. I ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what it would have me be. I turn over my will to my higher power. When I try to force my will I become disconnected and the fear takes over. Being connected helps me stay calm knowing everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. Even if it’s not the way I think it should be, I have faith that there’s a reason for it.

Frustration :: Satisfaction

This goes hand in hand with fear. When progress is not being made the way I think it should be, I need to look at how I can be helpful instead of looking at how it should’ve gone. Criticizing something that is already done is not helpful and adds to the frustration. Having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way I wanted it to go, helps me achieve the feeling of satisfaction.

Selfishness :: Generosity

‘Tis better to give than to receive. Getting what I want at the expense of others doesn’t make me feel good. Giving to others in need does. Generosity builds confidence, goodwill, and awareness of others. I am not in this world alone. We are all in this together. This is one of the best deodorizers for my “trash can”.

Hard-Headedness :: Realistic

I’ve learned that being right just for the sake of being right, isn’t right. It doesn’t make me feel good in the long run. It creates animosity and is generally unhelpful in every way. Its much more practical and realistic for me to collaborate and hear others thoughts and ideas.

Guilt :: Peace

What’s in the past is done. I can’t go back. I can only try my best to correct my past behavior. Only once I can forgive myself can I move forward.

Sarcasm :: Sincerity, Kindness

A first cousin of anger, sarcasm is the gateway into all the other defects. It’s a very quick way to begin the decomposition of garbage in my “trash can” and the smell, and consequences are horrendous. Before opening my mouth I try to remember to ask myself the following questions:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Helpful?
  3. Is it Inspiring?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

This is known as the “THINK” method of speech. It has really been a game changer in my quest for self improvement.

Hurt Pride :: Let it go

As stated above, no one is perfect. The sooner I can get over myself, the sooner I can move on. Dwelling on the words and actions of others doesn’t do any good. Those are things I can’t control. Sulking leads me into that downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. It’s better for me to laugh something off and learn from it than it is to fixate and worry.

Keeping my trash can clean every day helps me be better equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Not mine.

Eating healthy foods and getting physical at least once a day are also important building blocks in my inner transformation.

When I put junk in my body, junk comes out of my mouth.

When I do something active every day, no matter how brief, I feel physically better and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This carries over into my mood.

A great mood becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Am I Still Learning?

I remember back when I knew everything. It actually wasn’t all that long ago…

I didn’t need to listen to anyone because I had all the answers. When I asked you a question I already knew the answer, I just wanted to see if you would lie to me.

I had a closed mind and there was nothing anyone could tell me that would, or could, change my mind.

Because I was right and I knew everything.

It turned out, much to my surprise, that I in fact did NOT have all the answers. That there actually were people out there who knew more than me. This realization made me feel like a fool.

I was worthless and stupid. The most worthless and the most stupid person on the planet. Of all time, living or dead. There was no one worse than me.

My ego had me thinking I was all or nothing. Never in the middle.

I was at the end of my journey. I had stopped learning. I had hit my bottom.

The good thing about hitting bottom is, there’s nowhere to go but up. Or die. I was so convinced I was so worthless that I couldn’t even possibly get suicide right so I chose to go up.

I chose life.

I chose to listen rather than speak.

I chose to open my mind.

I chose to learn all I could about how to improve my life.

And then I took action.

Every day I choose to expand my mind and explore views other than my own. I choose to be a worker among workers and a friend among friends rather than let my ego dictate that I should be at the top of the heap. Because I know that will just end up with me feeling like I’m at the bottom. Under the heap.

I choose learning over fear of the unknown. I accept and adapt to situations rather than force my will.

I choose joy and happiness over fear and anger. I choose gratitude over resentment.

What will I learn tomorrow?

~Thanks for reading
LC

Fear: What it Means to Me

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. If you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” – Stephen Covey

 

When I was a little girl, I had no fear. I didn’t know anything about the consequences of my actions. When I failed, I tried again. I didn’t worry what other people thought. I was like a sponge, learning every day, making discoveries, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Think about it, when you’re a child learning to walk, you’re going to fall. That failure isn’t going to scare you into giving up You just do it again. And again, and again. You don’t worry about what other people think, you just keep doing it until you learn. It’s built in. You haven’t been taught fear yet.

As we grow older, fear begins to creep in. Outside influences slowly begin to mold our personalities and behaviors, and take a major role in how we formulate our opinions. We aren’t even aware this is happening.

We learn about worry.

We learn about responsibility.

We learn about consequences.

We develop habits. Some good, some bad.

We form relationships. Some good, some bad.

If you’re reading this, you probably got to a point in your life where you realized what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been living your life doesn’t feel right anymore.

You need something to change.

That’s what happened to me.

I drank so much my brain felt like mush.

I was overweight.

I could be really mean sometimes, even to the people I  love the most.

I had no drive, no ambition. I was stuck in a daily cycle that didn’t include anything related to self-development or self-improvement, only self-loathing and self-destruction.

I surrounded myself with like-minded people, and together we dwelt in our “happy” toxic world where we all  judged other people, hated those who were successful or physically fit, and anyone else who wasn’t as miserable as us. I acted as if I didn’t care what other people thought, but deep down I really did, and I hated myself for what I had become.

I had all these dreams and grand ideas but I never took any action, never had any follow through.

Never once did I ask a successful person how they did it. I just sat back and would growl to myself, “Must be nice..” Never once did I think about what it took for that person to be where they are today or how much work they must’ve put in to get there.

Fear had completely engulfed me and I either didn’t know it, or I just didn’t accept it and ignored it.

Fear had me in its mighty grip, grasping tighter every day.

Fear of financial problems.

Fear of my health.

Fear of disappointment.

Fear of acceptance.

Fear of life.

No fear of death, though. I had truly gotten to a place where I didn’t care if I lived or died.

 

Today I don’t let fear rule any aspect of my life.

I’m working on going back to that no fear mentality I had as a small child.

I’m comfortable with my body. It’s not picture-perfect, but I’m not overweight anymore.

I love learning new concepts and sharing what I’ve learned in the hopes of helping others achieve a better quality of life.

I’m not afraid of being wrong or failing anymore. I look at failure as an asset. Something to build on.

I don’t fear my financial situation anymore. It’s still not ideal but I’ve taken steps to educate myself on budgeting and saving for retirement. I’ve shifted my focus on what I can gain later rather than instant gratification.

I quit drinking and wasting time in a bar with the people I thought were my friends. They were really just acquaintances who had the same fears as me, and we just fed off of each other. We were in the same downward spiral pulling each other further and further down.

Turns out, they don’t even miss me. No one from that part of my life ever calls me to ask where I am. They don’t care.

I’ve started forming more healthy relationships with people who have what I want out of life. People who pick each other up instead of judging and putting people down.

I’ve traded negativity for positivity.

I read every day instead of watching TV.

I exercise every day.

I research every day.

I write and brainstorm every day.

I learn every day.

I improve just a little bit every day, and since I’ve made that change, my life has improved immeasurably!

I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not afraid of change. Change is inevitable. Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the concept of change, I no longer fear it.

Change for the better is a good thing, and change for the worse is a learning experience. Which is a good thing.

In order to change your life you have to change your paradigms. In order to change your paradigms, you have to change your attitude.

I’ve found that it’s much easier and more efficient to change myself than it is to change everyone and everything around me, to suit me.

To have a better life, it takes work. But it’s totally worth it!

Don’t give in to fear.

Take action! Change your inner circle of friends if you need to. Nothing is more important than your personal well being. Because without that, you can’t be helpful to anyone else.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC

 

Fake It ’til You Make It

black and white person feeling smiling
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Back when I drank a lot I had trouble focusing and being completely mentally present at any given moment. I didn’t have the willingness to do the work it would’ve taken to turn my life around. I wanted my life to be better, but I wanted it to just happen, with no effort whatsoever on my part. I had no interest on living my life on life’s terms. I wanted to live on my terms. Life had other ideas…

My life had to get completely unmanageable for me to finally get the willingness I needed to even begin the process of working toward my goals. Once I got the willingness, I started acting “as if”. I began looking at my life “as if” it were already better and I began acting “as if” I really wanted to do the work even though deep down I still didn’t.

I’ve learned in my recovery that if I brought my body, my head would soon follow. So I started going through the motions until my actual state of mind caught up with my new approach on life.

This was a slow but steady process, and it worked! My life has improved immensely since I started the simple process of acting “as if”. I just focus on doing the next right thing and I try to improve myself just a little bit every day.

I’ve been able to apply this technique in other areas of my life as well. I’m able to adapt to sticky situations much easier now.

Now, if there’s something I don’t particularly want to do, I fake it ’til I make it!

~Thanks for reading – LC