Remove failure

Why you should remove the word ‘FAILURE’ from your language.

There is a problem with using the word failure. Your brain already has too many negative associations with that word. As a child you were often told you had passed or failed. For many, displays of love and acceptance by their parents, was dependant (At least to some degree) on whether they passed or FAILED.

The human brain already has a tendency to gravitate towards the negative by default, so if you start with accepting the concept of “FAILED” then the resulting thought process can spiral down all by itself.

I’ll use this story to illustrate; Jack is trying to get the lawnmower started. The engine doesn’t start, so Jack’s brain thinks: The engine failed to start – which is both ‘External and specific’ The engine is external to him and it’s specific to this engine.

Jacks brain doesn’t stop there though, Jack has had previous experience of failure and so in his mind it becomes. I failed to start the engine – (Internal and specific) Jack has taken the engine not starting and made it mean something about him based on his previous experience.

If Jack is now responsible for the engine not starting, the next logical conclusion for Jack is. I’m a failure at starting engines – which is now internal and general (I.e. all engines). Now if Jack lacks confidence and already has previous experience of failure that maybe resulted in other people’s love and acceptance being withdrawn, the next logical conclusion is; I’m a failure – which is both internal and global and BS.

Now I’m not saying this is you and I don’t hold to this line of thinking anyway, however it is the way our natural tendency. We tend towards the negative, the use of negative phrases. Any lack of self-confidence adds to that to magnify the problems in our life beyond their true significance.

So what to do with that knowledge?

Start by being mindful of the language you use, both verbally to others and the way you speak to yourself in the private conversations that go in your head all the time. The way you speak to yourself. Check for words like FAIL and make sure that if you use them, you are using them in their proper context and not giving them more weight and power than they deserve. Look at failure not as failure at all, that is just a label anyway, it is all just an opportunity for feedback, good or bad.

Focus on your successes. Give yourself credit for even small achievements. It’s easy to focus on the times you don’t succeed and give no thought to the times you do.

Develop the habit of acknowledging other people for their successes. Success breeds success.