I love the concept of "failing up." Because sometimes we do fail. Yep, we fall flat on our faces, metaphorically speaking, and we have a choice as we lie there. We can do a few quick push-ups before we get up, or we can just roll over on our backs and whimper. Except for the push-ups part, I try to opt for the getting up. By getting up we say, "This failure does not define me. I will learn from it and I will move on."
What mentally strong people don't do makes sense. They don't:
- Waste time feeling sorry for themselves. There could be a moment or two of aggravation, frustration, and those normal emotions that people experience. But there is also a time of reflection--"what can I learn from this and how can I build on the good experience and insight I've gained?".
- Give away power. This one can be harder, but it's remembering who you are and what you're capable of doing. Failing can feel like rejection of your talents, but failing in that situation might not be at all related to anything you've done or are capable of doing.
- Shy away from change. . .or be okay with your cheese getting moved and perhaps a lot. Here's another thing about change: it's an opportunity to learn that much more about yourself--your capabilities, interests, limitation. I was recently in a position that was clearly not to my strengths. I was all but set up to fail (though not deliberately), but I opted to work towards my strengths to see how I could make the best of the situation.
- Waste energy on things they can't control. I was just on a business trip that was fraught with challenges. Weather caused delays which caused missed connections, etc. I could have complained, but that would have accomplished nothing. Instead, when I got to talk with the rebooking agent, I was pleasant with her and thanked her for her help. She was doing her job as best as she could and really didn't need to be hassled.
- Worry about pleasing others. I think this can be a tough one, even for some of the mentally strong. There is a fine line between pleasing someone else and being kind or not hurting someone else's feelings, but that is often situational. The flip side is focusing too much on pleasing ourselves, which is a different kind of problem.
- Fear taking calculated risks. The key word is "calculated." It's important to envision and even plan for worst-case scenarios, but not get mired in analysis to the detriment of progress.
- Dwell on the past. That was then, this is now. Learn from then, and apply it to the now and the future.
- Make the same mistakes over and over again. "Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs." I think the hard part is being accurately self-reflective: acknowledging our true strengths and determining how best to manage our weaknesses.
- Resent other people's success. Others have talents we don't. We cannot resent that others have taken advantage of presented opportunities or made good choices. That is a waste of energy (see #3) and can lead to wasting time (see #1) and giving away power (see #2).
- Give up after failure. Failure is an option. It has to be an option in everyday life. We will not always be successful in every single thing we do. So learning from failure is an important life skill.
- Fear alone time. See #8. Being alone, away from all of the noise and white noise, gives you the opportunity to reflect, to do those self-assessments, to examine those risks, and to make those decisions about what can and will change in your life.
- Feel the world owes them anything. The "world" has never owed anyone anything. Ever. That victim mentality gets you nowhere fast.
- Expect immediate results. Sure, sometimes a new possibility presents itself almost immediately. But sometimes the first thing isn't the best thing (see #6, #8, and #11). That could be rebound option, which might not bode well for you. As you contemplate your next steps, spend that time being self-reflective and examining the possibilities.