Manufacturing resilience (AKA start loving failure)

Lately I’ve been listening to development psychologists talk about raising kids (I consider it professional and personal research). I heard Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath on the subject of self-esteem, and the reality that sometimes the most “privileged” kids – ones with the most material abundance, the best educations, and the most protected upbringing – end up in adulthood as the least resilient.

[for any parents reading this: what a freakin’ relief from perfectionist parenting, am I right?]

We (and our kids) NEED hardship, conflict, challenge, even Failure. Why? To figure out our gaps and edges, learn strategies for coping better next time, and build resilience.

Every great success is built on a pile of failures

Want a simple recipe for achieving any goal?

Start taking action and don’t stop until you get the desired result.

Simple, right?

Not really. Most of us let our environments push us around. We try some things, and then we stop trying when we come up against something that feels hard.

Or harder than we expected.

Or takes longer than we expected.

Or requires sacrifice beyond what we expected.

See the problem?

When planning for greatness, we must also plan for failure

We are conditioned to expect a clean, straight line. Because people don’t talk about failures enough. We don’t talk about the extreme messiness. And I’m not saying we need to, necessarily. I’m saying we need to RECOGNIZE that because other people aren’t open about failure, we end up planning our own journeys with a distorted map.

When we see the big shiny successes of other people – promotions, awards, milestones, blah blah comparisonitis…

We feel like we are not measuring up. Like we’re doing something wrong. Like we ourselves are failures.

When instead we should be planning for failure. Because Robert and Tamara (and every other person who’s achieved anything, ever) have had their share of failures too.

Resilience breeds action

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from setbacks. Which means resilient folks can keep taking action in spite of failure. To them, failure is acceptable. Some even enjoy the pain.

Because they know it’s getting them closer. They can feel the muscle strengthening …

the growing pains of cultivating the skill and experience that’s needed to get to the Desired Result.

Imagine loving each failure, because you know it’s getting you closer to your Desired Result?

Forget expectations and timelines. Become one of the resilient ones. You’ve only got one job: continue taking action. Everything else is noise.


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