What if you’ve never actually failed at anything? Many of us judge ourselves as failures when something else is actually going on. We tend to go to the judgment of failure if we didn’t complete or achieve something according to the standards of someone or something based in this reality. For example, if you drop out of school – you’ve “failed”. If you get a divorce then your marriage was “a failure”. If you don’t pass certain exams, then you’ve “failed.” Is that really true, or are these just judgments by someone who has imposed his or her arbitrary standards on you and others? What if dropping out of school, or ending a marriage that isn’t working, or creating a way to not go forward with a certain career was actually something you were doing from an awareness? What if that choice was required to clear the deck so that you could actually have and be more of you? Unfortunately most of us tend to take others’ judgments of failure as real and having value. This is lie. One way to look at the insanity of ”failure” is to take a look at gaming. Candy Crush is currently a very popular game people play on their smart phones and tablets. Every time a person doesn’t complete the current game’s requirements, they get a message that says: “Level failed, you did not reach your goal”, then the next page says: “You failed”. What a fantastic manipulation! These are just arbitrary standards set by the game to induce them to buy extra turns and features designed to have people “succeed” at the current level. Setting standards of “failure” and “success” are ways that this reality tries to control and manipulate all of us. What if, instead of buying into “failure” you asked some questions like these? Did I actually fail at _______or was my “failure” at _______the result of something I had no real interest or desire to succeed in the first place? Was my “failure” the result of being bored? Was I aiming too low? Was I doing something others had told me I should do?
There was a man in Access who had “failed” his law boards repeatedly. When he was willing to be honest with himself, he realized he had tried to be a lawyer to please his father and because the idea that, “You’ll be a lawyer when you grow up” had been projected onto him since he was a young child. He really had no interest in being a lawyer.
The idea that we could “fail” by aiming too low may seem counter intuitive, but consider this: If you are not challenged by what you are doing, do you consistently do your best with the job at hand or do you lose interest and quit giving it attention? If you were assigned to put widgets together on a factory line, how long would you last? Most of us wouldn’t last more than a few days! What if aiming too low is what actually caused your “failure”? Here’s another idea that may seem strange, but see if it’s light for you.
“Failure” is actually something we create. That may seem a bit crazy, but consider this. What if we created “failure” as a message to ourselves that whatever we were doing was not actually working for us, nor was it a contribution to our life and living. Many people who get divorced consider that they failed and that the marriage was a failure. Could there be another way to look at divorce? If we base our judgment of failure on this reality’s idea that a “good” marriage should last until “death do us part”, then we have to go to the conclusion that a divorce means failure. However, what if each marriage, like all relationships, actually had a use by or end date? Have you ever noticed how certain friendships last only a few years or even a few months while others last longer? Are the longer lasting friendships really better than the shorter ones? What if each relationship you had, including marriage, was viable for a certain time, then it was time for both parties to move on? It’s not that the end date for any relationship would be set in stone, but more that as each person chose to create their lives in a way that was expansive for them, there might come a time when the structure of the relationship no longer served them. If ending a relationship is considered a failure, then people are prone to staying in them long after they are working. What if you could consider divorce a success? “Yeah! We were willing to realize that the relationship was no longer serving us and move on without trauma/drama and judgment!”
This same idea can be applied to any area where there is judgment of failure. For example, being fired from a job can actually offer a fantastic opportunity to move on to something greater, or change to something entirely different.
If you do become aware that you are headed for “failure” in a relationship or a job, and you desire to see what else might be possible or what could shift the energy and allow that relationship or job to change into something that could work, there are some questions you can ask. “What’s creating the loss of interest and stuckness?” “Am I feeling unappreciated or that the project has no value?” “Are there people I need to talk to to get a different perspective or information?” “How could I make this fun for me?” “What else could I add to the project or job that would change things?” “How else could I look at what’s getting created here?” “Is this still relevant to me and my life?” By asking questions you can get a better sense of what’s actually going on and if it’s possible to create change in a way that would add life and energy to the project or relationship. The most helpful thing in all of this is to let go of the idea that failure actually exists. By letting go of the construct of failure, you free yourself to ask questions, see what’s actually going on, and make changes that are based on awareness and not judgment or the wrongness of you or others.
For more on failure you can listen to the Voice America Show “Stopping the Self-Sabbotage”.
And if you would like to embrace “what is right about you you are not getting?”, listen to the recent Voice America show on “What Are you Great At?”