Your Perception of Failure

One of my all time favorite movies is the animated movie “Meet The Robinson’s.” In the YouTube video above you will find young Lewis fixing his peanut butter and jelly sandwich maker, but it turns out to be a miserable failure. Lewis reacts by placing his face in his hands and apologizing. Much to his surprise, everyone cheers his efforts, reminds him of how much he can learn from failure and encourages him to “keep moving forward.”

The truth is we are all like Lewis. The moment something doesn’t go as expected we feel like failures. Somewhere along the way we have allowed ourselves to be convinced that we are supposed to be perfect and never make mistakes. If we do make a mistake we are to feel ashamed.

Some people feel so ashamed they will actually pretend they didn’t make the mistake. The become masters at debate and rationalization. Others will out and out lie to your face and deny they did what they did, even though you know they did it!

So, why do we feel the way we do about failure? It’s because we believe the lie that failure is bad. Even though everyone who watched “Meet The Robinson’s” loved the message to embrace failure and keep moving forward, most viewers never did.

You see, your thoughts will not automatically override your beliefs. You have to make a conscious effort to challenge your beliefs and be ready with truth to fill in the gap when a lie is discovered and removed, and that is only the beginning. The old lie will try and take back over, so you have to battle it with the truth on a regular basis until the truth becomes ingrained.

It may sound like a lot of work, but the amount of effort and energy it takes to cover your tracks, rationalize behavior and remember those lies is immense compared to the energy it takes to challenge and adjust false beliefs.

Start challenging your beliefs by question your belief on failure. Ask yourself:
1. How do you feel when you fail?
2. How do you typically react when others see you fail?
3. How do you view others when they fail?
4. How does your current view of failure keep you from achieving your dreams?
5. What is the truth about failure? (Hint: watch the video clip)
6. Will replacing your old belief with the truth help you or hinder you from achieving your dreams?
7. What specific action are you going to take to keep moving forward?

Don’t let your false belief about failure rob you of chasing after your dreams. Take the bull by the horns and make a conscious decision on what you will believe moving forward!

It’s not a question of if you will fail, but how will you react to future failures and how will that help or hinder you!

Posted in Coaching, Leadership Tagged with: , , , ,
2 comments on “Your Perception of Failure
  1. I love the video! It would be so great if our work (and personal) failures where acknowledged as steps toward great achievement. I see two bad habits for us in the work place: 1) We don’t admit failure, and perhaps seek input from others, and 2) some colleagues are just waiting to take us to task for our “dumb” or “bone-headed” mistakes.

  2. Agreed! We waste more time and energy covering up for mistakes than it takes to deal with them. In my opinion pride is the root cause.

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