How Your Failures Actually Help You Succeed

If you’ve failed to achieve your goals or objectives during the
first half of this year – or, if you’ve accomplished less that you
had hoped you would by now…

Relax. This is actually a good thing.

I know this sounds counter to what we all normally think. We
realize the first half of the year is over, and we may not be
anywhere close to where we wanted to be at this point. This is
not a good thing…or is it?

Goals and actions such as starting a new health and fitness
regimen so you feel more energetic and lose that extra weight…or
leveraging conscious breathing to assert more control over your
thoughts and reactions, so you feel less stressed and hectic all
the time….

These are worthy efforts that aren’t necessarily easy.

The path to these end states, the process itself, is fairly
straightforward. Simple, even. But not easy. The path requires
time and sustained effort.

As I discussed in my last tip, if you’re thinking, “It’s
already July and I’m already behind, so maybe what’s the use,
I’ll just cave on my goals like I did in previous years”….

Stop that train of thought! Flick on the red flashing lights
and pull the brake handle.

Oh yea, and take a deep breath. Maybe several deep breaths.


You’ve still got plenty of time for course correction, plenty
of time to get it together and reach those goals…or make
significant progress toward them, which is the hallmark of

One of your first steps to getting back on track should be an
honest assessment of your mindset.

Your mindset drives everything.

A common affliction – one of the banes of humankind and
significant achievement – is the fear of failure. A few years
back, after much introspection, I realized that this has been
a significant issue for me.

Fear of failure means you’re more worried about what other people
will think if you try something and can’t do it, or aren’t good
at it. It can hold you back from trying new things, developing
new skills, taking risks.

It can manifest itself as always playing it safe, sticking with
the routines and habits you know so well today. It’s that loud
voice in your head telling you not to commit 100 percent to
a goal, because that way, if you don’t achieve it, you have
an out or an excuse.

I could go on and on about how fear of failure holds us back.
I think everyone has it to some extent or another. Unfortunately,
we pound it into our kids’ heads too, if we’re not careful.

You can’t just magically click your fingers and rid yourself
of this fear of failure. But you can shift your focus to a new
mindset…one that shoves failure thinking to the side.

Researchers who study the secrets of high performance have found
that an individual’s mindset is one of the most important
predictors of success and achievement.

If you predominantly have a “fear of failure” mindset, you’ll
worry about what other people think, you’ll be more needy for
social confirmation, and you will likely not push yourself to
try something new outside of your comfort zone.

And…you will stagnate, not get any better, maybe even give up.

On the other hand, if you switch your thinking to a growth
mindset, you will leverage the driving force to master skills,
improve yourself, and do better today than you did yesterday.

It seems weird, but a little failure can be the key to success.

Having to overcome adversity or failure, or things taking longer
than you “think they should”, can be the rocket fuel that
fires you up and launches you to ultimate success.

So, as you face the rest of this year head on, don’t let your
negative self-talk – that monkey chatter, as they call it –
get in your way. Replace it with growth thinking. See your
efforts as a challenge – a positive challenge.

And allow the challenge to fuel a sense of urgency.

It’s so easy to get complacent. The path of least resistance
is to throw up your hands and say, “Oh well, guess I won’t
achieve [insert your goal here] this year. Guess it wasn’t
meant to be. At least not for me.”

Don’t settle for this. You deserve better!

And when I say deserve, I say it with the same intention as
Churchill when, during World War II and the height of the
Battle of Britain, he told England to “Deserve victory!”
Churchill Deserve Victory

He didn’t mean England was good and Nazi Germany was bad and,
therefore, England deserved to win.

He meant, let’s make damn sure we do everything we possibly
can, to the ends of our resources and endurance, to EARN

Earn your own personal victory this year! Stay the course,
or get back on course, and keep moving in the direction you
have set out for yourself. Honor the commitment you have made.

I’d like to share a piece of advice from the Hagakure, an
old Japanese book of wisdom written by a famous Samurai,
Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659 – 1719).

He discussed the four vows he had taken, and that he advised
every Samurai to take. They included: commitment to the way of
the Samurai: commitment to one’s work; faithfulness to one’s
parents; and to develop compassion and act for the sake of

When I first read this passage, the next part really captured
me. Yamamoto says:

“If one dedicates these four vows to the gods and Buddhas
every morning, he will have the strength of two men and will
never slip backward. One must edge forward like the inchworm,
bit by bit. The gods and Buddhas, too, first started with a

Edge forward, inch by inch. Never slip backward.

There are less than six months left this year. Let’s git

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013

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