Failure is Not an Option- Because it’s not real

“There is no such thing as failure, only small degrees of success.” Anonymous

There are two primary ways to look at failure, 1. That failure is real, is devastating and demotivating, or 2. That failure is not real, it’s a figment of an imagination limited by insecurity, therefore does not have to impact our lives. Obviously, if it were a choice, most people would choose the second definition. However, what if it is a choice, what if you could decide what definition you believe.

I purposely use the term definition, because failure is a concept that is defined by the user. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so to is failure.

There is no such thing as failure
johnhain / Pixabay

Ask yourself, how do you define failure in your life? Here is the definition that I choose to believe, and that fits my life. I believe that failure is the result of an imagination heavily influenced by insecurity. There really is no such thing as failure (as the quote suggests), it’s really a matter of where you choose to place your focus and how creative you can be with your goals. Truthfully, the definition of failure should be “an unnecessary experience constructed by insecurity that usually causes pain and suffering leading to decreases in motivation, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.”

Failure is a figment of an Insecure Imagination:

More accurately, it is not your imagination that is insecure, it is that your imagination is affected and limited by insecurity. Insecurity effects many, if not all, aspects of our lives, depending on it’s intensity. It creates doubt and causes us to pay more attention to negative events than positive. When we set out to do something and have a desire outcome that we do not achieve, insecurity would say that is a failure. However, isn’t the fact that, not only did you identify a goal, but you attempted to achieve it, a success in an of itself. Limiting your focus to one desired outcome will almost certainly cause you to believe you failed. Even if you reach your goal on the first try, did you reach it exactly how you expected, or is it exactly how you imagined it to be? Insecurity will make you doubt any successes you have and lessen the achievement. Ask yourself the following questions and see if you can be more creative or forgiving:

  • What if I extended my deadline for the behavior/action/outcome?
  • Is there really only one possible outcome that would show I succeeded?

Insecurity makes us focus on the end result rather than the journey to get there. Additionally, insecurity tells us there can be only one outcome and a final date for that outcome. But if you expand your definition of success and where you are focusing, you can succeed in so many more ways. This is where the imagination comes into play. If you have an insecure imagination, you are not your definition will be unimaginative with a limited focus.

  • How many things did I achieve while pursuing this goal?
  • What or who is limiting my imagination?
  • What did I learn through attempting this?

Most likely you will define failure as not achieving that one outcome how you expected. Nor will you look at other aspects of the goal to see where you did succeed. My task to you is to expand your definition of failure and not limit your imagination by insecurity. Think of the last time you “failed” but this time use a different definition, or forget the word altogether.

  • How important is it that I succeed at this goal? If it is very important, then why not try again using a more creative approach that will help me succeed?
Dr. Greg Schwarz, Psy.D is a licensed psychologist and Co-owner of Burbank Therapeutic Centers, A psychological corporation. Dr. Schwarz has been working in the mental health field for more than 20 years. Currently providing individual therapy in Burbank, CA, he specializes in anxiety disorders, panic attacks, OCD and working with older adults. He founded BTC on the principle that therapy should be individualized and specific to the person seeking help. Each therapist at BTC only treats a limited number of problem areas, those they have particular interest in, so that we can individualize the therapy to each person.

2 comments on “Failure is Not an Option- Because it’s not real

  1. Well stated. Clients will often focus on the result of what they want to achieve as their goal instead of the process to get there. Addicts in general, suffer greatly from this process because of their own insecurities. Thus, their dumbfounded belief that they are not “cured” right away after 30 days in treatment….

  2. Great article! I hear a lot of “talk” online about looking at failure as a lesson and inevitable result of creativity. However, I think the way you state it here really hits home. Our perception is everything.

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