Success or Failure: Which are you "rehearsing" more right now?
Throughout our day, we process a LOT of information. How to dress for the day, what to eat, how to do our jobs and how to manage our lives.
Each and every one of those tasks, or processes, are viewed through the lens of our personal and community beliefs, perspectives and a lifetime of experiences.
Most of us aim to succeed in our endeavors. Few purposefully want to fail.
Yet, the reality is that, more often than not, we spend more of our time envisioning the bad stuff that failure could bring to a task or goal, than succeeding at it.
We, in fact, mentally “rehearse” failure.
I’ve mentioned before, in previous segments, that just thinking about the possibility of unpleasant emotions like fear, guilt or sadness, can generate the same physical reactions and stress in the present moment as if those unpleasant experiences are actually happening to you now.
What’s that quote by Mark Twain? “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened”.
That’s rehearsing failure in a nutshell.
Think about your own life and how you view challenges. Which do you default to? Rehearsing failure or the opposite end of the spectrum, rehearsing success?
Google “how to succeed at anything”, and I’ll bet you’ll find more material than you can shake a stick at, that requires using positive reinforcement and visualization practices to help getting to your goal.
But, why wouldn’t we automatically prefer to default to a future that's based on positive, successful outcomes?
Many people think it’s easier to expect defeat, failure or rejection, than it is to expect the opposite, because they’ve experienced those experiences on too many occasions throughout their lives.
But, no matter how challenging our lives are, over time, we’ve all certainly experienced our share of successes too!
Turns out, many believe that thinking more positively seems to require more work than expectations of failure. So, did we all just get lazy?
For some, maybe. But, it’s probably more about the general human tendency to want to stay within our comfort zones, instead of the scariness of braving new worlds and experiences.
Rehearsing failure in our minds, gives us something to justify aborting a mission that looks too difficult, appears to take too much of our personal resources of energy, time and thought or the belief that we don’t have the right skillsets in place to achieve our goal.
So, we call it a day and move back into our nest.
What are the benefits to the alternative of expecting success instead?
First, few can deny that rehearsing or envisioning future success is energizing and fun! It builds hope.
Visualizing the achievement of a goal will get those happy endorphins kicking, as if we were already there enjoying the fruits of our labor!
Think of the last time you successfully followed through with a goal you were really passionate about. You probably felt a strong sense of excitement and well-being, that all was right with the world and finally falling into place, just as you’d envisioned, or maybe even better!
There’s no doubt that experiencing success in any aspect of our life is sweet!
It improves our sense of self-worth and opens up our imagination to new experiences and possibilities that we might never have known existed!
So, if all these happy, wonderful things are out there just waiting for us, how come we aren’t all running down the streets celebrating in sheer glee?
Well, usually it’s a frightening little word called “How”.
Many times, we have a strong desire to think positively, to go after goals that excite and intrigue us, but we get stuck or derailed early in the process because we allow perceived limitations to keep us from pursuing our dreams.
How do I get from here to there? How do I get the money to do X, Y or Z? How do I get the skills or education I need? How will I find customers for my new business? How, how, how…and you might throw in a few “where’s” and “what about’s” in there too.
Many get to this point and give up without a fight because they just can’t see beyond these challenges. But, have you ever noticed, that the goals you’ve achieved in the past that had the most difficult challenges, are the ones that you’re the most proud of?
So, try thinking about them this way. Those “little challenges” are simply life lessons. They’re our opportunity to stretch ourselves in new ways, to problem solve, get creative and form new alliances or partnerships.
They are worth SO much more to us than we could ever receive by staying within our comfort zones.
The good stuff requires standing your ground, not running, the second things get sticky. Instead, put “How” to work for you.
Tackling the “How” is a simple as taking one step…yes, one simple step a day ,that will get you closer to achieving whatever success you want in your life. Wealth, personal improvement, better relationships, improved health, a better job.
It doesn’t need to be a big step, just a step that you feel good about and gets you a little closer to knowing more than you did before and is proactive.
Let’s face it! Just getting out there and trying is success in my book!
Even if you don’t get to your original goal, I’ve found that the journey will often uncover an even better path than the one we originally imagined for ourselves.
It’s also important to watch your inner dialog during this process. Using words like “can’t”, “won’t”, “shouldn’t” and other negative language, when you’re faced with a challenge, can sideline you faster than a flat tire on a freeway.
Use loving, positive language when you express your dreams and goals to yourself and others.
ANYTHING is impossible!
All you have to do is look to the real-life examples of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney or Nelson Mandela to know that any dream, no matter how difficult it may seem, can be successful.
Yes, it takes perseverance, commitment and a belief in yourself that you are capable of creating whatever you truly wish in life, but it’s out there and waiting for you.
Take a chance! Stay the course! I guarantee you, it’ll be worth it!
So, my friend, as I always say….stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!