“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t believe in failure. The word doesn’t have a purpose or meaning in my life.
Everything I do is an experiment: Test. Assess the results. Learn something and take the next step.
School and societal programming have brain-washed us into thinking that failure is bad – something to be avoided at all costs.
Because of this warped thinking, we either strive for impossible perfection or settle with mediocrity because it’s safe and we don’t think we’re up for the perfection thing.
Either way, this leaves us in the land of “not good enough” where dreams and passions are always “out there” while we’re over here, unhappy with ourselves and our lives.
Quit Fooling Yourself
We fool ourselves into thinking that we’re doing something to change this by reading the latest books, blogs and programs and getting really smart about what we should do next.
Fear of failure or success keeps us in the mode of getting ready to get ready while we’re too scared to take any real action.
We disguise our fears as reasons excuses why we can’t take action. Too old, have a family to support, have a mortgage, not an expert (don’t know enough), already have a career….
We think that taking action has to mean bold, sweeping measures that will suddenly end life as we currently know it in order to create a completely different life.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Although I did take the plunge and make a huge leap like that fifteen years ago, the subtle actions I take everyday these days are equally, if not more, effective in creating change and moving me closer to my dreams.
Fifteen years ago I was in a marriage held together by a thread and that thread thankfully broke when I left my old life to create a new one. I didn’t have kids or a mortgage or many of the things that keep people from taking action.
I did have the security of a great job with great benefits, doing things I enjoyed. But I made the decision to leave it because I couldn’t see myself doing that the rest of my life. I knew there was much more in store for me.
Today I have an amazing husband, three of the world’s most awesome little kids, a big mortgage and a full-time job. All of that should have been plenty for me to tell myself that I didn’t have the time to start a new business. And, at 45, I could be too old too.
But I know that all of that is BS. There’s no rule that says you have to choose between a family and your passions.
You can have your cake and eat it too.
Experience All of Your Options
The next time you’re at a restaurant and can’t decide what you want, order all of the things you want. Taste a little of everything and bring home the leftovers.
Treat your life the same way. Say yes to it all. Experiment to find what really floats your boat and focus on that.
There’s no way to find out what works for you without experiencing it. You can’t figure it out by reading about it or talking to other people. Your experiences will never be the same as theirs.
You have to get out there, take action, see how different things feel to you and take the next step from there.
If you order a dish at a restaurant that ends up tasting like crap, do you sit there and eat the whole thing? I hope not.
It’s the same with your experiences. Try something and, if it sucks, stop doing it and make a different choice. This applies to everything from a pottery class to long-standing careers.
If you’ve spent fifteen years as a lawyer and it’s now sucking the life out of you, stop doing it. Just because you went through law school and spent all this time on a career that no longer supports you does NOT mean that you have to be unhappy doing it the rest of your life.
Cut your losses and move on. In this case you’re using fifteen years of your past to kill the next forty years of your future.
Moving away from things that no longer serve you does not make you a failure. In my book, it makes you smart.
Making Change More Manageable With a Change of Attitude
If all this change stuff is still too much for you, consider changing your approach and your attitude about the things you do now.
Fifteen years ago I dropped out of Corporate America because I couldn’t see myself doing what I was doing for the rest of my life.
I took a couple years off going to Costa Rica, driving across the country, going to outfitting school, managing a dude ranch, playing with wolves, training horses and managing a herd of horses.
After all that I realized that I wanted to keep pieces of that in my life but I needed to make significantly more money in order to live my life in my own unique way.
So I got a corporate job. This may appear to be backtracking and giving up on my dreams. Quite the contrary. I had a bigger picture, a bigger story for myself and that job was a way to get my dream.
I knew that I couldn’t see my job as drudgery if I was going to be happy. I changed how I interpreted my experience. Instead of thinking of the job as “crunching numbers,” I saw how I could help the people I worked with accomplish their dreams. I felt how I was contributing and making a difference, not only in the company but in people’s lives.
I make it a point to connect with people on a deeper level because I think that’s really what life is about. It’s hard to understand how to contribute without making those connections.
I make these connections in everything I do – my job, my blog and my other interactions with people. Because of this, I find joy in almost everything I do.
Viktor Frankl took this approach when he was subjected to the horrors of living in a concentration camp in World War II. It’s what kept him alive. If it can work in situations like that, imagine what it can do for you in your life.
You Can’t Fail
You’re never trapped.
You always have options.
It’s up to you how subtle or dramatic you want to make changes in your life.
No matter what you do, you can’t fail. Failure is a faulty concept that doesn’t serve anyone.
Failure is making the choice to stop experimenting in life because you’re not meeting someone else’s expectations.
Failure is a way for someone else to instill enough fear in you to keep you from making the changes that they’re afraid you’ll make. If you make those changes, the other person will feel threatened. Whose life are you living?
Play. Experiment. Order the whole menu and see what you like the best. You’ll never know until you try.
|In the United States, Thursday, November 28 is Thanksgiving Day. I think it’s pretty silly to reserve giving thanks to one day in a string of 364 other days. Check out a sampling of some of my daily gratitude lists here: What’s On Your Gratitude List Today?|
|I want to say a great, big THANKS!! to you for being a reader and member of our community. Next month marks the third anniversary of Simple Mindfulness and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. You’re awesome!!|
|As another way to express my thanks to you, I’m offering the Mindful Body program for 50% off until Monday, December 2, 2013 at midnight. Just use the discount code THANKS when checking out.|
|The program includes many ideas that you can use through the holidays and beyond to avoid gaining extra weight while keeping your energy and spirits high. It’s also a great gift to share with the special people in your life. Click here to learn more and take advantage of the discount: Mindful Body program|