You’re probably keenly aware of just how many times you have failed in the past. For some reason, the brain is wired to remember negative experiences better. That’s why you should always look at product reviews online with a skeptical eye because most people – in fact, nearly all of the people – who had a positive experience don’t think about it enough to post an online review. Inversely, most of the people who had a negative experience do think about posting an online review, and many of them do. So, your brain is wired to remember your failures better than your successes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let those past failures control you or even influence your actions in the present.
The Value of Past Mistakes
Of course, past mistakes do have some value. You can learn from your past mistakes, and that’s an advantage that we have over most of the animals out there. We’re able to learn from our failures, change the way that we’re doing it and then move forward with the new strategy. If you try something and it doesn’t work, then you can try something else later on. So, don’t hate your past mistakes. They have made you who you are now, which is obviously someone who is motivated and desires success but doesn’t dwell on your past mistakes either.
Don’t live in the past. When you think about a past failure, you may feel embarrassed, depressed, frustrated, angry, or fearful. Now, throw all of those emotions out the window. In fact, you are not allowed to be emotional about any past failure from here on out. You are going to look at the failure objectively, see what worked and what didn’t, and then move forward, because it’s never as bad as you think it is.
You’re Probably the Only One Who Remembers Your Failures
For example, let’s say you failed a course or had a low GPA in college. Perhaps employers may take notice during the first few post-college years, but after that, no one actually remembers or cares once you have some experience under your belt. If you’ve been thinking about starting a business and these mistakes are making you doubt yourself, you should process it and let it go.
Turning Potential Failures into Successes
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another thing we do is to think negatively about future events as well. How is this connected to past mistakes? If your mind is dwelling on past mistakes, and your mindset is failing because of that, obviously, any future events will be seen through the same distorted lens. Many people let “what ifs” stand in their way. And make no mistake; words are a very powerful thing, and the words we use to speak to or about ourselves matter. A comedian once said something like: ‘I used to tell people I was trying to be funny and I couldn’t get a gig to save my life, but then I told the next guy I was being funny and he booked me!”
There are a lot of “what ifs'' out there that could stop you dead in your tracks or spur you to success depending upon how you word them. For example, instead of thinking that you’re going to fail at something, and giving yourself that self-talk, take a positive spin on it and think that you’re going to have massive success instead. Whenever you find yourself thinking of a “what if” statement that is negative, stop yourself and turn it into a positive one. Eventually, this will become a habit, and you will hardly ever find yourself having a negative thought like that again. What you will notice is that you start thinking “what if” positive statements and this will have a huge impact on your life; your attitude will improve, you’ll be happier and you’ll be more willing to work on the things that will bring you success.
Take It One Day at a Time
Each morning when you get out of bed, think of something that you can do to make yourself proud of what you have accomplished. Think of a reason that you should be proud of yourself and then do something to make that happen. For example, you have your entire Saturday to yourself. You can go out to see a movie; you can binge-watch your favorite show; you can work on the hobbies that you have been neglecting, or you can spend a few hours working on your business. At the end of the day, which one of these will make you proud of yourself?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend every waking minute that you’re not at work or every bit of free time that you get working on your business, although you could, it does mean that when you have the chance to work, don’t procrastinate. Spending time on a project isn’t the only way to do something that you would be proud of either. If you put $100 in your savings account today, towards your business in some way, you can be proud of yourself for that. Just do something every day to make yourself proud.
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you should limit what you’re doing to a reasonable amount. Many people get excited about their goals, and then they bite off more than they can chew and end up feeling like a failure. For example, you should not spend more than eight hours on that Saturday when you find yourself with free time working on your business. You might think that you can work for 12 straight hours after a week of doing your job, and maybe you can, but it’s more likely that you’re going to burn out, and then you’ll feel as if you failed. Set goals that you can actually achieve, and you’ll be proud of yourself.
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