We know from our prior discussions that failure is not something to be feared and that failures themselves are not the end of the road. Today I want to share some additional insights with you that relate to Failure and Self-Development.
It’s been said that “Development follows Demand.” Think of any goal you want to accomplish and you’re in essence thinking of a scenario involving development. Obviously we all know that development doesn’t happen overnight. Yet all too often we get frustrated when development doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like [My hand is raised here] and we get discouraged when failure seems to be our only accomplishment.
If this sounds like you too, take hope. A slight change in mindset could be the solution you need to open new pathways to success. Recognize the following truths:
- Allow your development to occur as a result of ‘progressive’ demand. Instead of trying to climb to the top of the mountain in one day, ask yourself to do it in stages – push yourself to the upper limits of our comfort zone each day and over time your comfort zone (and your ability to achieve) will gradually expand.
- Don’t ignore your comfort zone but recognize that it can change over time. It’s important to be aware of your comfort zone and to challenge yourself here, but if you put undue expectations on yourself and push yourself too far, too fast with unrealistic expectations then you’re setting yourself up for discouragement. Remember the classic goal-setting acronym “SMART” – goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Use SMART goals that will help you expand your comfort zone over time – it may take a little longer, but you’ll increase your chances of success in the long run.
- Development is a river of little failures – as you challenge yourself to expand your comfort zone, undoubtedly you will fail along the way. But rather than be discouraged, use all these little failures as stepping stones along the way to reaching your goals.
Put this wisdom to the test: pick a goal you want to achieve and see if it works. For example, let’s say you want to be able to do XX number of pushups. Start today by just doing 1 or 2, then tomorrow try for 3-4, and so on gradually until you reach your goal. You may find you can’t immediately achieve the next step(s) every day and that some days your progress is better than others — that’s ok and is to be expected. Don’t focus so much on the end goal; instead focus on the process. Remember the old adage “Life is about the journey, not just the destination” – use this mindset as you expand your comfort zone over time and by accepting failure just a natural part of the developmental process you’ll turn what you thought were barriers on the path to reaching your goal into road signs that signify important progress markers on the journey to your dreams.