Capital “F” Failure: Why the small stuff matters

Oct 23, 2019Blog0 comments

How we deal with the small stuff matters. It may seem trivial, but our body and mind often reacts to our missteps like they’re capital “F” failures while we ascribe a lowercase “s” to our success. More importantly, we brush aside failures like they’re not meant to be there, like we’re aiming for a 100% failure-free life. What does that even look like? Not very interesting, I can tell you that. And it wouldn’t include any of the growth or maturity that leads to “success” either.

Also important to note: Our general satisfaction in life is mostly based on how we feel day in and day out. Like the adorable country song by Jake Scott says: “Love’s not only the best days or the worst days, love is the Tuesdays.” And so it is with success and failures.

It’s the quotidian events that influence our satisfaction. So when we start framing the small things that occur on a daily basis in a helpful way, it has a dramatic impact on the rest of our life.

Failure isn’t only cataclysmic events that drag us down to rock bottom. It’s also the little mistakes, missteps and misspeaks we experience throughout the day. Interestingly enough, those little things manage to wreak a bunch of emotional havoc. If we don’t frame them correctly, they’re like little elves hacking away at our sense of self-worth and, consequently, our perception of the world. If we conflate our mistakes with who we are as a person, we’re in trouble.

Failure isn’t only cataclysmic events that drag us down to rock bottom. It’s also the little mistakes, missteps and misspeaks we experience throughout the day.

Let’s get this straight:

We’re consistently miscalculating and screwing up because, well, we’re human. We make the same mistake more than once. We fail again and again because it’s in our DNA. However, what is in our control is our reaction.

It’s our mission to be loving and forgiving throughout; bemoaning our shortcomings only serves to dramatize them. It’s possible to grow from our mistakes while also accepting them. It’s about normalizing failure while learning from it. 

It’s choosing to see failure as a signpost indicating where there’s tremendous room for growth. Instead of visualizing a big arrow reading “Beyond repair”, envision it reading “Attention needed here.”

This is a subtle yet powerful shift.

Yet all this doesn’t dismiss the inevitability of uncomfortable emotions. When we begin to acknowledge and accept the difficult thoughts and feelings that accompany failure, we increase our resiliency. We stop avoiding the learning curve. We lean into uncertainty and fear knowing we have the tools to get through it (or we’ll develop the skills along the way!).

Sometimes life is hard and we mess up, but that’s not contrary to success. Failure is an unavoidable and essential part of life. We need to stop fighting a natural occurrence; when we accept our mistakes, flaws and failures, we welcome greater peace. 

Adopt this daily mentality and you’ll set yourself up for true success.

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