Archive for the ‘failure’ Category

GrayBall, The Brain – a/k/a “The World’s Worst Terrorist”

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I’m convinced – at least on some days – that without a whole cadre of anti-terrorism tactics in place, GrayBall would be burning and pillaging it’s way across the entire  landscape of my future life right now.  After all, it was an experience  all too familiar from my younger years.

And I know that I’m not the only one. Admit it.  You know who you are.

Do you have a potential or a possibility for the future, but . . .

Are you anxiously asking yourself “what if questions” about your future hopes and dreams?

If so, you’re being terrorized by the ‘world’s worst terrorist.”

What is it with GrayBall anyway?

Why is it – just when we should be feeling excited and passionate about all the possibilities in front of us – does it begin to terrorize us with thoughts of failures past, broken dreams and disappointments?

Well, chalk it up to GrayBall’s wonderful self-preservationist attitudes.  It often thinks it’s under attack, and feels the need to defend itself against future failure.

GrayBall loves to lob bombs from the past and create all manner of chaos and mayhem into our soon-to-be future.

Have an upcoming presentation?  You’ll suddenly remember the time in the 3rd grade when, in a panic, you forgot the only two lines you were required to remember for the school play.

Have a prospective first date?  You’ll start to reflect on how badly your last relationship turned out.

Trying to land that new job?  Rejections, rejections, rejections are all you can think about.

It’s hard to believe the future will turn out anything but badly.

How could it? As you’re inching ever closer to the inevitable doom of stepping on that landmine out in the future that GrayBall has so loving placed there.

Yep, I said lovingly.

Because Gray Ball really means well.  That’s why it’s a bad terrorist.  In fact, it’s the world’s worst.  Because it’s trying to help us … not harm us.

It’s trying to protect us by helping us to pay attention to what might happen that we don’t want to have happen.  But this is like trying to help you navigate a mine field by laying down more mines so you’ll remember they’re there.  Kinda crazy, huh?

Here’s another reason GrayBall is the world’s worst terrorist: all the bombs are really duds.  They don’t really exist.  They’re memories from the past…. things we’ve already endured and lived through.

That alone should convince us that our ‘not yet successes’ in the future will turn out okay in the end … because they always do.  We can learn, grow and evolve.  You aren’t the 3rd grader who didn’t remember your lines, you’re an adult fully capable of stringing two sentences together, your past relationship taught you to stop trying to change people and look for someone who already possesses the qualities you’re looking for, and you’ve endured enough rejection to realize you’ll live to fight another day.

So while GrayBall is rooting around in the past for those duds to toss out into your future ask yourself, “What have I learned that will help me achieve my not-yet future success?”

And more importantly, GrayBall is simply a misguided friend.  Not a foe.  But, more on that later.


A New Year’s ReVolution

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution.  More than likely because I always equated the word resolution with that dreaded word “discipline.”

And when it comes to discipline?

Well, let’s just say, the day they were handing it out, I happened to be at the back of a very long line and didn’t have enough discipline to wait for it.

So discipline and I have never been friends. A fact all too often brought to my attention by one or another of the well-intentioned, ruler wielding, knuckling slapping nuns who terrorized my young life in order to knock it into me.

Actually, the sum total of all that knuckle slapping did amount to something: my earlier belief that if only I were more disciplined my life would not only be easier but a whole lot less painful too. After all, you need discipline to get things done, right?


Here’s the reason why. Discipline isn’t the Holy Grail that leads to the Kingdom of All Promises Made and Kept that you’ve been led to believe. There’s an equally potent – far easier – way to keeping the promises you’ve made to yourself to change aspects of your life.

It’s really quite simple.

Use your passion, enthusiasm and desire more effectively.  Here’s how.

Do you have a promise you’d like to keep this year?

Imagine having already kept it.  Picture it in vivid detail by asking yourself a few questions:

“How has this changed my life and/or the lives of those around me?”
“What would I have missed out on if I hadn’t made this change? “
“What is now possible that only once seemed impossible?”
“What’s now present that was missing before I made this change?”

Now, notice the feeling of success and accomplishment. Ask yourself:

“How do I feel about myself now that I’ve accomplished this?”

Finally ask yourself:

“Do I want to feel this way?”
“Do I want this?”

I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes.’

And if this is the case, how much discipline does it take for you to do something you really, really want to do? That’s right. None – all you need to have is passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So when it comes to something that we really want, what looks like discipline from the outside becomes effortless efforting on the inside.   And if ever you feel yourself drifting away from your promise(s), simply reconnect to your passion, enthusiasm and desire.

So if you’re worried that you won’t have enough discipline to achieve your New Years Resolution, why not join me in making a New Year’s ReVolution instead?   So what’s yours going to be?


Why Losing Makes for Winners

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Okay, I’ll admit it.  When I was younger, I wouldn’t have believed it either.

After all, most of us grow up with the idea that winning is everything and losing is for . . . well . . .  Losers.

Is it any wonder then why we balk at the thought of accepting rejection as an integral part of our lives?

That sooner or later into every life a little rejection is bound to fall?

In fact, one could go so far as to say we downright reject rejection.  It certainly shouldn’t happen to us – but to the ‘other guy.’

And when it does?

It’s often met with a mixture of despair and fault finding.

This fault finding falls into two general equally crippling categories: it’s not my fault  – or – it’s all my fault, I shoulda, coulda.

The Deck Is Stacked Against Me  or How I Pulled the Unfair Card

An ego is a fragile thing and we (and the people who love us) are prone to defending it at all costs.  There’s a particular brand of fault finding we use to make failure and rejection less odious: the unfair card.

How many times, in the face of failure,  have you consoled yourself (or a friend) with the soothing balm of  “unfair and unjust” rewards.

As in: the reason they or you lost out was because someone else simply wasn’t smart enough to see your brilliance.  You are being treated unjustly, punitively or unfairly.   A/K/A: “I am an American Idol and someday you jealous so-and-sos are going to be sorry you didn’t give me a chance.”

Or as in, the odds were completely stacked against me and the game was rigged.  A/K/A: “It was political or nepotism or they wanted someone younger/older/taller/or with a different degree – and just what the heck could I have done about that?”

Then again it could be a series of  life circumstances that unfairly brought you down.  A/K/A: I was sick the day before, I didn’t have enough time, and  the planets weren’t aligned correctly.

I Shoulda, Coulda

But perhaps worst of all is when fault finding comes home to roost.  We believe failure and rejection have occurred because of our own inadequacies.

We have a chronic case of the “if-onlys.” A/K/A: “I shoulda, coulda . . . taken better care of my self, started my degree earlier, or consulted an astrologer.

We lament to ourselves and anyone willing to listen, :”if only, I had or if only I hadn’t” proclamations of guilt and remorse.  Which is generally met with the aforementioned balm of “unfair and unjust” rewards.

Not Unless I Know I Can Win

Is it any wonder then that we sometimes refuse to play if we might not win?

Or why when we do and don’t emerge a winner, we tell ourselves that we just weren’t good enough?

Irrefutable Proof

The good news for us?  All of  this flies in the face of what is statistically rational and irrefutable proof to the contrary.

This past April, Harvard – one of the most prestigious institutes of higher learning – held an open panel discussion entitled, “Reflections on Rejections: An Exploration of Resilience in the Face of Failure.’’ Intended to highlight the importance of mistakes, failures and rejection: the esteemed panel recounted their own and others setbacks in relation to the importance of their own personal and professional growth.

A humorous highlight of the conference was Professor of Statistics Xiao-Li Meng’s  intriguing 2 page Theorem entitled A (Hopefully) Well Accepted Statistical Theory of Rejection.

His Grand Theorem of Rejection?  “Statistically, you are rejected, and probabilistically, it is fair.”

In a nutshell, rejecting rejection might just make you the bigger loser than accepting the fact that in order to win you’re necessarily going to have to lose at something on your way to success.

You can download a PDF of Meng’s Theorem in it’s entirety here.