Consider your responses to failure

From the book It’s Not My Fault by Henry Cloud and John Townsend:

We have seen how important it is to look at the meaning that you attribute to failure, because negative feelings and conclusions can cause you to remain stuck. The next step is to figure out what you do at that point, in order to do that, you must evaluate those feelings and conclusions. How did they affect your responses to failure, and what can you do differently?

When you fail, do you:

* Withdraw?

* Get angry at yourself?

* Get angry at someone else?

* Give up?

* Not try again?

* Change courses impulsively?

* Eat, drink, or medicate yourself in some unhealthy way?

* Look for meaningless distractions that get you no closer to what you want?

* Make excuses?

* Blame?

* Avoid looking at it and remain in denial?

* Run to some area of strength to make yourself feel better instead of looking at your weakness?

The negative meanings you place on failure and your emotional reactions to it always generate accompanying behavioural patterns. You must uncover your own negative patterns and take steps to change them. To do that, you will probably need some support from outside yourself–a group, an accountability partner, a counsellor, or some outside structure. Old patterns usually do not change as a result of willpower or just by making different commitments. Such changes require outside support.

An addict’s life changes when he realizes that his pattern of response to failure is to return to the drug. To change this failure pattern he must attend a meeting to find the support he needs to resist returning to the drug. He has to interrupt his predictable pattern of response to failure. Going to the meeting instead of using the drug changes the pattern. To change your own patterns, you must have that same kind of structure waiting in the wings of your life—a structure you can turn to for support when you fail to overcome those patterns in the aforementioned list.

The most important tip we can give you in pursuing any goal may be to ask these questions: What will I do when the failure pattern hits me the next time? Who will I call, or where will I go? What will I do differently?

When you find the answers to these questions, your chances of success will shoot way up.

From It’s Not My Fault by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.


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