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How Do You Define Failure?

If you ask 10 different people what they think "Success" is you're bound to get 10 different responses. Some people would say having enough money to pay the mortgage, others would say being healthy or happy, another may say making a sporting team. Success is different to every single person and is very much dependant upon what your goals or vision/mission are.

I bet though if you ask 10 different vce students they would probably all have the same similarly themed response regarding a particular grade, a high mark or even an enter score. Is this the case in your life as a vce student? An interesting observation I have made while speaking at over 50 vce student workshops over the last few years is that never have I witnessed any more than 10% of students in the group confirming that they have written goals for their vce and beyond. Why did I bring this up? Well, students who do have written goals take a risk that they won't achieve their stated goal but in the process are more successful than students who don't have a written and achievable goal. The 90% of students say it is easier to " do my best" and then hope for the best. If you don't have a written goal then chances are you could have a "Fear of failure".

A fear of failure basically assures that you will live your life in fear of taking any action because it is much easier to do nothing than something. People with a fear of failure get caught up in the "What if " frame of mind which causes analysis paralysis, procrastination and ultimately no happiness and health as the drift through life being taken by the current in whichever direction it is flowing.

It is the most bizarre phenomenon and one that I believe has to do with a negative perception of "Failure" and a "Fear of failure".

We each have our own definition of success and failure based around our own paradigm of how we view the world. Highly successful people in life have a positive perception of performance (ppp). In essence what this means is that they have acquired, developed or learnt that "Failure" only occurs when they haven't learnt something from the experience. But where do you get this from?

Usually our perceptions and beliefs are passed on from our parents and friends. It's certainly not genetic and yes you can choose what you believe and more importantly how you react. Between stimulus (what happens to us) and our response (what we do about it) there is a conscious gap where you can choose your response. Can I tell you something...Never, ever, ever take another's opinion of you, or a belief about your ability unless it in someway empowers you.

There is one slide that I use in some presentations which lists famous quotes of people who got it wrong. Who made an extraordinary statement about someone or something and have been proven incorrect over time. Here are a handful of them...

  • "Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances." -dr. Lee deforest, a father of radio -feb 25, 1967

  • "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out." -decca records, rejecting the beatles

  • "He's not very intelligent." -albert einstein's elementary school teacher

  • "He doesn't have much talent." -michael jordan's high school coach

Now...Just for a moment. Just think if michael jordan listened to his basketball coach and thought "Maybe he knows best" or if albert einstein listened to his elementary school teacher or if the beatles listened to decca records (who incidentally made a multi-billion dollar stuff up with that call). What if the beatles said "They could have a point, after all, they know more about the music industry than we do", there would have been no beatlemania and the musical revolution and global phenomenon that followed.

I hope you get my point - don't listen to anyone's opinion of you that doesn't help take you in the direction that you desire.

I want you to stop for a minute and think about what it would be like if you couldn't "Fail"! If you set up your own rules and beliefs that you could fail...What result would that have on your own goals, your future and your life.

If you knew you couldn't "Fail" what could you achieve?

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