A Successful Fail

Failure isn’t negative, it’s neutral

Why is failure bad and success good?

Let me rephrase that.

Why do we believe that failure is bad?
And why do we believe success is always good?

We have been groomed our entire lives in democratic societies to believe failure is a bad thing.

You Failed a class,

you Failed a test,

and the letter ‘F’ is synonymous with the word failure to portray a negative outcome.

What if I told you that the ideas of success & failure we have been taught are beliefs rather than states.

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Both are neutral outcomes and we are the ones with the power to decide if they are good or bad.

Have you ever lost on purpose to have a positive outcome?

Have you ever learned a valuable lesson from a bad relationship?

How could a failure be good in those examples if failure is inherently bad?


What about success always being good?

I think of the movie Billy Madison in that scenario, where his father pays off all his teachers through the years so he could graduate each grade.

Or if success means to sacrifice something dear to you, such as a heart-wrenching decision in childbirth to save the baby or save the mother.

Is a successful birth really successful if someone had to sacrifice the one they love for that success?

Who even decides these definitions we choose to believe?

Here’s a thought…

We Do.


Fearlessness is a choice.

What if democratic society had a paradigm shift in how we consider success, but more importantly, failure.

So much disappointment, sadness, and turmoil is caused by believing failure is bad.

Who gains when a society pushes that concept onto us?

Do you?

If you don’t, then I wouldn’t encourage you to worry too much about the who but instead turn your attention to the why…

Failure is a part of life and can be informative and critically important in our growth as a human being.

Despite the layers and layers of beliefs we have ingrained in us to fear we all understand on some fundamental level of logic that:

A single success doesn’t make someone successful
A single failure doesn’t make someone a failure

Yet we constantly lie to our self that there are exceptions to this rule.

But there are not, there is only the magnitude of the natural and enforce consequences and the beliefs that people we need to believe are bad for sometimes a single huge failure NEED to be failures.

This solidifies this radical ideal that breaks the simple logic we know is true when our ideals/beliefs don’t get involved to help us cope with our feelings.

But in a more positive example:

We know that some of the most commonly measured successful people in the world don’t let failure stop them, because to them failure isn’t something to get feelings worked up about.

Failure happens.

Failure is misspelling a word and having to erase it and try again to get it right.

A belief that magnitude of the failure is what matters most often keeps us from staying aware after a failure to see a solution.


What next?

Next time you start to believe that you have failed.

Be Still.
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Be aware of yourself. Give yourself an opportunity outside of the moment to try to know what you do not know right now. Being aware that we do no know what we don’t know isn’t an excuse to be ignorant, it is an opportunity to understand what we can know if we choose to step outside of the pressures of time for even a moment.

Don’t weaponize Time.
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This means don’t rush. There will often be a sense of urgency to fix something as soon as our expectations are broken. This idea that time is running out is our enemy. Test this idea. It is not your ally.


Start asking “why?” about every thought, feeling, idea, fear, concern, reason, and explanation that pops into your head.

In other words.
Start to question your current reality.

There may be another solution that currently escapes your perspective when you are gripped by the fear of failure.

Be aware that we can have many words we use instead of fear, but anything that could be considered not a positive feeling when thinking about the failure could be swapped out with the ‘fear’ in the fear of failure.

But if the fear isn’t apparent when you are happy about your failure, start to ask why and question your way to identify what the fears are buried under all the other explanations.

But when you start to find those fears, they are disguised. In fact you probably won’t know them as fears at first, instead identify these feelings by how difficult they are to explain or in some cases how ridiculous they would sound to say out loud.

They could be so ridiculous that we don’t want to admit that our fears or feelings could sound so stupid so we try to explain them to be more “reasonable.”

Try to be better than me. In my early days of practicing this I often was so terrified of being wrong that I spent years avoiding being brutally honest with myself how STUPID my fears sounded and convinced myself that I had to explain them even just a little bit.

This makes them harder to dismiss.

You see, the power comes from admitting the stupid sounding fears out loud. Once we do that, they are outside of our mind in a way that I do not know the science enough to explain other than it’s the same phenomenon when we have a word we use that we rarely say out loud and when we do we exclaim, “That’s a fun/ny word to say out loud.”

We experience this phenomenon in lots of ways. But in this case it helps us get that fear outside of our mind, realize from how ridiculous it sounds that we start to tear it apart on how silly it is that anyone could believe that let alone us. I have even started laughing at how ludicrous it was for me to admit to myself out loud that I believed in a fear like,

“I don’t like taking showers in new places.”

When I dug deep I realized that the fear went away as soon as I was in the different shower. So in fact, the fear was overcome just by stepping into these showers. So the fear wasn’t even of taking a shower… it was getting inside of that shower. Once I was in I am fine. Exploring this fear seemed so silly to do but I realized that I was exaggerating my fear by the belief that it was something bigger than it was. Now I don’t have to get up the courage for the entire time of a shower. I started to remember that I was always fine once I was in the shower, how could I never put that together before? I literally have to take one step to be done with that fear. Not even an entire shower.

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Exploring our fears is equally humbling as it is freeing.
Fearlessness is a choice.

A choice to work to undermine the power we give up to our fears to control us.

It’s time we work and encourage each other to take that power back.

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