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Success Advice

Why Failure Is an Opportunity in Disguise

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Failure

On your journey towards your dream life, there will be many setbacks. Whenever you pursue a goal that is worth achieving, it will be hard. You fall down many times, and every time you ask yourself: “Is this really for me?” There will be many detours, each of them trying to break you. How you respond to them will determine your success or failure in life.

As a culture, we are conditioned to look for the easy fix. We believe in the magic bullet that will suddenly bring us success, use weight loss pills instead of exercise, and prefer the easy route over the harder but more fulfilling one. We use alcohol and drugs to numb our feelings and avoid confronting reality. Instead of facing adversity head on, we are afraid of it.

When we have big goals or dreams in life, we often get so obsessed with achieving them that every little sign of adversity becomes a burden. Everything that doesn’t go exactly the right way is a problem, and serves as a blow to our ego. Most of us can´t stand failure and adversity. If we fail once or twice, that´s it.

We throw in the towel and get down on ourselves for not being good enough, smart enough, or tough enough. What we don´t understand in those moments is that adversity is not a bad thing. In fact, sometimes failure is just a part of the process, causing us to dig deep down inside and discover what we are truly capable of.

Success is supposed to be hard

It is natural to want the easy life, win the lottery, and then relax at the beach every day until you die. And there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are okay with never reaching your full potential. But if you want to see how great you can be, there is no way around adversity.

In fact, reaching your goal is supposed to be hard! You are supposed to struggle, fall down, and try once more despite the failure. It has to be hard, because that’s what makes it great! If it was easy, everybody would do it. If being fit was easy, everybody would walk around with six-packs and run marathons. If it was easy to become a millionaire, everyone would enjoy life on their yacht by now.

But it´s hard, and that’s what makes it great. That’s what separates those who are committed in life from those who are not. If you are just interested in becoming successful, you will work hard as long as it’s convenient. As long as everything is going the right way, you work on your goals. But as soon as adversity hits you, you give up.

You start making excuses, find reasons why success isn’t for you, and blame bad luck or other people for your lack of results. If you are just interested in succeeding in life, you will never make it because every victory requires some adversity.

 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Only adversity makes you stronger

Think about this, have you ever grown from solving an easy task? When everything was going smoothly and there were no challenges, have you ever said “wow, this last month has really made me a better person”? Chances are, you haven´t. That’s because we grow in the storm, not in the calm. You don’t develop any new skills when you are comfortable. Comfort zones are nice places to be in for a while, but make sure that you don´t stay for too long, or you might be missing out on a lot of growth.

Improving your mindset is like training a muscle in the gym; You need resistance to grow it. If you keep lifting the same easy weights for too long, you won´t make any progress. But if you provide your muscles with variation and challenges, they will adapt and grow. Your mind is the same way. You need to push through some resistance to grow it. So next time you face a challenge or even fail to achieve a big goal, see it as an opportunity to increase your mental strength and improve your chances of succeeding the next time.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie

Here are a few action steps to take:
  1. Embrace adversity. It´s your chance to set yourself apart from the masses of people that don´t want it as bad as you. Use it to grow your mental muscles and become better in the process!
  2. Analyze your failures. Ask yourself why you failed to achieve your goal. Was it lack of effort or the wrong strategies? How can you do better next time?
  3. It´s not over until you win. Keep chasing after your dreams, no matter how much failure and adversity you might encounter! Keep believing in your dream and adapt to feedback until you make it. Be flexible with the strategies you use, but not with the goals you pursue. Never give up on your dreams!

By using these steps, you will be able to accept and deal with failure in a more effective manner. Whether failure is final or not ultimately depends on your ability to get yourself off the ground, learn from it, and try again. The faster you can do that, the sooner you will see your dreams turn into reality.

How has failure turned into something greater for you? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

Mindful Productivity: How Top Achievers Combine Focus and Balance

By being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and surroundings, you can work with your internal and external environments

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Mindful productivity

Your big-dream goals matter … but not at the expense of your health. (more…)

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Change Your Mindset

The Art of Convincing: 10 Persuasion Techniques That Really Work

The knack for persuading others can act as a catalyst for change, open doors, forge alliances, and effect positive change

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how to be more persuasive

Persuasion is not as complicated as it may sound. In fact, it is something that we have been practicing since childhood. Do you remember convincing your parents to let you skip school, asking your teacher not to assign homework, or persuading your boss to give you a day off? Well, these are just small examples of what persuasion looks like. (more…)

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Success Advice

5 Steps to Leveraging Industry Speaker Events for Career Advancement

Jumping into industry events is a smart move for your career, but there’s a knack to it

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How to advance your career by networking

Jumping into industry events is a smart move for your career, but there’s a knack to it. It’s not just about sitting in a room full of people. You’ve got to find the ones that fit your career puzzle, dive in while you’re there, and then make the most of what you’ve learned afterward. (more…)

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Success Advice

Overcoming Plateaus: 6 Powerful Strategies for Breakthrough Success

A plateau is not a full stop; it’s a comma that allows you to pause, reflect, and shift gears

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how to overcome obstacles for success

In the pursuit of personal and professional growth, plateaus are inevitable. They appear when progress seems to halt, despite your continuous efforts. But remember, a plateau is not a full stop; it’s a comma that allows you to pause, reflect, and shift gears. This article provides six powerful strategies to overcome plateaus and achieve breakthrough success.

1. Find Out the Root Cause

When facing a plateau, there is likely something causing you to sabotage your progress. Identify the root cause. What is sabotaging your progress? Examine your daily routine and how you spend your time. Are you wasting time on unnecessary activities? Or are you taking on too many tasks that you can’t handle?

Often, adding more tasks overloads your already tight routine and distracts you from focusing on the most important tasks. Therefore, often eliminating unnecessary activity will work to overcome plateaus. However, be cautious of not doing things right, such as tasks you have not yet undertaken or missing something. What actions do you need to take or improve to achieve your goal? Are you avoiding them, or have you not started yet?

2. Never Tolerate Problems

Once you’ve identified the root cause, never tolerate problems. If you tolerate them, you’ll end up staying stuck. You get what you tolerate. Once you recognize the problem you’re facing, never tolerate it. Instead, address and improve the situation.

3. Focus on a 100% Solution and 0% Problems

To overcome a challenge, it’s essential to plan how to get through it. Yet, people often find themselves asking, ‘Why is it bad?’ or ‘What is wrong with it?’ Questions of this nature limit our thinking, leading our brains to generate responses like ‘Because you’re not good enough’ or ‘Everything is wrong with you.’ These limited answers tend to resonate with the situation and drag you down further.

Instead, ask empowering questions without limits, such as ‘What is not perfect yet, and how can I turn things around while making a more positive impact?’ By asking unlimited empowering questions, you’ll shift your focus from the problem to the solution. Additionally, you will also notice that asking empowering questions can expand available options and allow you to see from an angle you couldn’t see before.

Focusing on problems rarely yields positive outcomes. The key to positive results lies in concentrating on the solution. The next time you face adversity and notice getting caught by unresourceful thoughts, snap out of it and direct your focus to a 100% solution and 0% problems.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

4. Cultivate Success-Driven Traits

Identify the traits you need to have and get rid of to become the person you aspire to be. Consider your specific goals – for instance, attracting positive relationships. To achieve this, note down the traits you need to embrace, such as being open-minded, gentle, healthy, and treating others the way you want to be treated.

Cultivate a positive mindset. Simultaneously, get rid of traits like criticizing others, having a short temper, and engaging in unhealthy habits like taking drugs.

Learn from individuals who have achieved similar goals. Study their traits, both the ones they have and those they’ve consciously avoided. Implement these traits to align with the person you want to become.

Once you have your lists of traits to embrace and eliminate, diligently follow them. Place the list on your desk or the door of your room, ensuring you read it at least once a day to reinforce your commitment to these traits.

5. Track Your Habits

Carry a notepad to track your habits throughout the day, especially those contributing to plateaus, as well as your new habits or traits aligned with achieving your goals. For instance, if your root cause is excessive internet use, record instances of mindless scrolling on social media. Note when you engage, the emotional state prompting it, and the approximate duration.

Calculate the total minutes wasted at the end of the day. This habit tracking makes you aware of the emotions triggering these behaviors (stress, boredom, and frustration) and the time wasted.

Additionally, track positive new habits, like reading good books and exercising. Document what you’ve learned from the book and the time spent exercising. This practice helps you build new positive habits by enabling you to compare today’s results with those from yesterday or a week ago. 

Moreover, consistently sticking to new habits for around 18 months transforms them into lifelong habits. Even if you take breaks, you will find yourself naturally returning to those habits.

6. See Obstacles as Opportunities

Every obstacle can be an opportunity to turn things around. If the economy is in a downturn, it’s time to recognize it as an opportunity to thrive while everyone else is struggling and focused on the problem. If someone makes fun of you or causes you trouble, ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this experience?’

Alternatively, consider that the person underrating you is setting low expectations, which are easier to exceed. If your business receives a bad review from a customer, see it as free feedback that guides you on how to improve and take your business to the next level.

Always try to see different angles that others may overlook. This perspective can reveal aspects you might be missing. When you view a problem as an opportunity, it has the potential to foster growth.

In the journey toward success, plateaus are just temporary pauses, not dead ends. So, keep moving, keep growing, and make your breakthrough.

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