On the journey to efficiency there are occasional setbacks; unexpected hills and even mountains to climb. This is true with learning any new skill or making any major change in life. You don’t always get it right. It doesn’t always go according to plan.
Sometimes, you flat out fail – and I recently did just that.
For the past few weeks I hadn’t been blogging because I was too busy failing at my original objective of achieving efficiency. I spent one week knocked off my square, another week getting overwhelmed with an unexpected influx of responsibilities, and a third week of feeling like crap for losing the first two weeks, just looking for a way out. But since I’d been there before, once I gathered myself I was able to shake off the defeat rather quickly and get back on track. I’ve failed enough times in life now to know that it’s normal, thank God.
You see, the only real problem with failure is that people don’t expect it. Just like trouble, failure is a constant in life, and the good news is, it actually exists to help you.
That’s right; failure is a tool. Failure is how we gauge what doesn’t work when calculations and planning fall short. This doesn’t mean we should live haphazardly by trial and error, only that success is not automatic. Just because you want something and have worked to obtain it does not mean you will find a clear path to your goal with no opposition or surprises.
Life doesn’t work that way.
More often than not, the road to success is paved with failures of every kind. Personal, financial, emotional, mental, relational – there are so many ways to fail! Which should help you realize that failure is inevitable. Those who know that keep going and ultimately succeed. Those who mistakenly think that failure is a reflection of their limited potential become blinded by it, which stops progress dead in it’s tracks.
Setbacks and disappointments can really cloud your vision, robbing you of the focus and clarity you need to keep moving forward. Feelings of hopelessness can then easily set in, convincing you that your original goal was never really possible, mocking your desire to even try.
This is how hope is lost.
Combating the overwhelming doubt that renders us unmotivated and unproductive is a fight, and it’s most certainly not the one-and-done kind. You have to fight this fight every day; it’s just easier when things are going your way. When you can see light at the end of the tunnel, you keep walking. When you can’t see, however, that’s when your warrior training becomes most vital.
(In case you missed it the last time, I give you…everyone’s favorite scene from Bloodsport.)
So how do you fight when you can’t see? It’s just like Jean-Claude Van Damme showed us – you remember what you’ve been through, you calm down, and you engage your enemy using the confidence of your collective senses and training.
That really is it. No secret sauce. No magic bullet. Just calm down, remember that you have been in trouble before, remind yourself that failure is both normal and necessary, and then start working to pick up the pieces in the most efficient ways possible.
Each failure is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your craft, and what it really takes to reach your goal. Take notes on what happened and why it happened – you’d be surprised how effective and positive the reflection can be! Failure is only an enemy when you let it tell you who you are instead of what you need to do. The beauty of failure is that you learn where you really stand when you fall.
And then you get up again.