Image: Mouse trap loaded with a piece of cheese. Text: Stop springing the "success or failure" trap!
Creativity, Inspirational | Motivational & Other Quotes, Realise your dreams

Thriving instead of striving

This is the crucial 6th element for my system that allows me to go forward with joy and a sense of excitement:

Redefining “failure” and “success”

Failure comes from Latin fallere “to trip, cause to fall”. I redefine and visualise failure as the trip wire of a mouse trap, and success as the bait. As soon as I notice that I either insist on success or try to avoid failure, I see the trap, say “nah, not worth it”, and keep on going for the BIG cheese instead. 😉

Image: Mouse trap loaded with a piece of cheese. Text: Stop springing the "success or failure" trap!

Letting go of judgment: Creating without re-enacting the old

If there has ever been one single fear that held me back from moving forward, from thriving and from celebrating life in joy, it wasn’t so much the fear of the unknown, but the fear of the past repeating itself…which was probably exactly why it did!

Whenever I judged one of my past experiences as good or bad – with success being “right” and failure “wrong” – I tapped into the opposite potential as well. Never did I feel I “good enough” to enjoy my successes fully, and the fact that I’ve learned something with every failure didn’t do much about the pain I felt – that’s how the duality of our limited mind works out. I blamed myself or circumstances for my failures, and for my successes I gave myself a pat on the back for being a good girl and putting in much effort and hard work, or simply considered myself lucky. Either way I remained hooked on my past experiences and kept giving them the power to project into both my present and my future.

The underlying problem was that as long as I insisted on “getting things right”, I was implying that there’s a way to “get things wrong”. It also meant that I still identified with the person I had once been, completely denying the possibility of any change or learning or evolution.

My first solution? Cutting that power supply off and stop giving success or failure any importance. A relaxed embrace of both makes them simply a natural part of the thriving process.

Then I came across this short video clip: Why Will Smith regards “failure” as a lesson

From striving (and strife) to thriving

A little while after watching this trailer, I had a lightbulb moment that helped me take my initial solution to another level:

What I really was fed up with was that I seemed to make no progress – very frustrating and discouraging! I clearly saw the way ahead of me and what it would involve, but it looked like I’d never get anywhere near what I wanted to achieve. I felt like I was redoing the same thing again and again, like the mythological Sisyphus whose task was to roll a big boulder to the top of the mountain…only to see it roll back down again.

My refined solution: #1 To treat ANY outcome of any small step as an accomplishment that deserves appreciation and celebration and #2 to actually take the time to do so consciously, not just in a “Done that, what’s next?” way.

In the blink of an eye – literally – all my perceived failures turned into a long series of mini-successes and I could see how far I’ve come indeed! Not only did this insight immediately improved my mood, it also changed the way I approach anything now: With joy and a freedom of choice that comes from the deep knowing that nothing would be wasted and nothing could go wrong.

Bye-bye struggles, mousetraps and strife! 🙂

How do you deal with success-or-failure? Do you feel like you’re thriving or striving?

Quote by John C. Maxwell: Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward (via goodreads.com)

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