Beyond the Fear of Failure – Day 293 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Thought

“The fear of failure is the shortest route to it.”
~ Ray Davis

Success writer John C. Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success (Amazon Link), says the following.

“Failure is an inside job. So is success. If you want to achieve, you have to win the war in your thinking first. You can’t let the failure outside you get inside you.”

I was recently reading an article where they were comparing Japanese and American students’ approaches to learning. The writer pointed out that it is not uncommon to see a Japanese student fail numerous times on his or her way to learning something successfully. In Japan, there is no stigma to failing along the road to success. It is an expected and accepted part of the learning process.

In the United States, we attach a tremendous amount of stigma to failing. So much so that American students are generally not willing to go through the process of failing to learn. American students tend to focus their attention on subjects where they can be successful and shy away from subjects where failure might be involved.

So instead of going through the failure to learn process we often hear our children say things like, “I hate math.” They don’t really mean that they have something personal against math. What they are saying is, “I would have to fail too many times to get math and I’m not willing to do it.”

I’m not here to say that one nation’s approach to learning is superior. However, this fear of failing extends beyond school and impacts our adult life as well. Many people have big dreams or goals they would like to accomplish, but, again, they are still not willing feel the sting of failure to get there. Instead, they learn to play it safe just as their children do with the math.

That’s where my little aphorism at the top comes in. When fear failure so much that we are unwilling to try, unwilling to risk learning new things and failing a little; we cannot achieve our goals and dreams. All because of the stigma of failure.

Recondition yourself to overcome your fear of failure. In an outstanding article, Olimpio Zapanta offers five steps for overcoming the fear of failure.

  1. Divorce failure from your self-esteem.
  2. Failure is not all bad. It can be a great teacher.
  3. Failure and success are intimately linked – failure is often a prerequisite for success.
  4. Successful people fail constantly. That’s how they succeed.
  5. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect before you go for it.

With these five great steps and determination, don’t let the fear of failure sidetrack you from your destiny! Remember that “A Success” is what we call someone who had the courage to persist through failures.

Success and failure are not the result of circumstances. They are not the result of intelligence or luck. All of these things can contribute, but the overwhelming predictor of success is the refusal to give up. Your dreams await. They may be eleven steps away. Don’t called it a failure on step 9.

Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

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Stop Missing Profound Truths – Day 286 of 365 Days to a Better You

Sir Winston Churchill once observed, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

The universe is constantly placing truths before you; flashing like the bright lights of Las Vegas.  They’re impossible to miss unless you’re caught up in this “rat race” mindset. At “rat race” speed, your mind is clouded with marching orders, burdens, and you’re always in a hurry. When you’re in that mode, profound truths could bite you on the nose and you’d miss them completely.

These truths are important. They could be telling you how to achieve your next goal or answering a question you asked the universe in frustration, but never waited for the answer.

What’s the solution?

  • Just be more.
  • Feel more.
  • Stop, look, and listen more.
  • Go within more.
  • Breathe consciously more.
  • Love more.
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt more.
  • Accept more.

Do these things and you’ll drop out of rat race mode and see the world more clearly. As you see the world more clearly, the truths trying to make themselves clear to you appear.

Those truths don’t respond to your hurry, worry, or your distraction. They only show up when you fully show up.

Just in case no one else has told you today, YOU ARE AWESOME!

Ray

Ray
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Getting Past Fear to Action – Day 285 of 365 Days to a Better You

There’s an old German proverb that says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

You want to build your side business, change jobs, or go back and get that degree, but something is stopping you. Sure, time, money, the ease of staying put are often the easy culprits. Are they really the reasons you haven’t taken action or is there a conscious or unconscious fear anchoring you in place?

Change is a wolf and our fears about it do make it look bigger than it is. Are you feeling a little fear about the change? It doesn’t mean you’re coward or weak, it just means your human and you’ve allowed the wolf of fear to swallow your dream.

Want to know a secret? Most of the time, that wolf is a shadow puppet on the walls of your mind. It’s only as big as you make it.

Powerhack: Here are some things you can do turn stagnant fear into action when you’re stuck.

  1. Just jump – do you remember, as a kid, the first time you jumped off a diving board? You had that same lump in your throat you have about this. You stared at the water, you counted, and you heard your self-talk talking you out of it. Finally, one of your friends yelled, “Just jump!” That was the solution. You shut down your mind and just acted. Before you knew it, you were hitting the refreshing water and rising back to the surface in joy. That worked out and so will this.
  2. Dream bigger – yeah, this one gets a bad rap because everyone says it, but it’s applicable here. Maybe you don’t have a dream big enough to overcome your fear of acting. Have you ever REALLY wanted something? I mean REALLY? You let nothing stand in your way. If this dream doesn’t have you that passionate, dream a bigger dream.
  3. Find examples – maybe you’re thinking, “Someone my age can’t do that” or “Someone in my situation can’t do that.” Wrong! I simply guarantee you’re wrong. There is someone out there who overcame none than you to get what you want. Find them and let their story inspire you.
  4. Past is prologue– you’ve done this before. At some point in your life, you faced a challenge, thought you couldn’t, but did anyway. Remember those examples and be inspired that you’ve done it before and you can do it again.

See, that wolf isn’t as big as he seems. In the face of your determination, he turns into a lovable pup.

Just in case no one else had reminded you today, you’re AWESOME!

Ray

A Greater Consciousness Arising – Day 263 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation
Life Affirmation: Today I contribute my unique and irreplaceable spark to the great bonfire of life.

Today’s entry is a multi-paragraph affirmation I wrote over 20 years ago. It captures the essence of a dream I had in 1997. I awoke in the dream to a world with eternal sunlight. Bigotry and want were no more. People pursued their highest potential rather than another dollar.

Utopia? Perhaps. I can tell you this. I was a dream I was a little sad to wake up from. That’s partly because I have had such a vision for humanity in the real world for many years. It’s almost like it’s right there through a thin, but impenetrable, veil. We are separated from that by our lowest impulses. I’ve often wondered what our world and our civilization could be, if a critical mass of people raised their vibrations. Could we pierce that veil?

Here’s the affirmation. It’s a reminder that the world we live in is a choice not a prison sentence. We can have a world rooted in peace and driven by the potential alive in each of us, if that is world we expect and demand.

If we continue accept less, then that is the reality we will continue to experience.

This affirmation calls on us to expect more of ourselves, each other, and our leaders. It reminds us that a new and better day is right here ready for us to awaken to it. Some have. Some are. Some will. Some are fighting to hold on to the old world. Which are you?

The sun is rising; the clouds have passed away. And in the minds of at least a few, a greater consciousness has arisen. Tradition is no more. There is only awareness: an awareness of radiant possibilities and transcendent hopes for a world about to be born.

A world in which our fondest dreams shall come to pass. Where the greatest potentiality of humanity is realized: that each member of the human family will awaken to the inner light that opens one’s heart and frees one’s mind to look across culture, race, gender, religion and vast distance and see oneself.

Be of good cheer, o patient ones, for this new day dawns; a day of wonder and hope. A day, when filled with joy, all people shall attain their full potential. Long has been the night of toil and pain. Too long have brothers and sisters lived according to their fear of each other rather than their love for each other. But no more, the blinders have come off.

Finally and forever the Human Race will stand in the radiance of the truths that have lived within each of us all along. Truths that can no longer be ignored or distorted. The truth of our UNITY and our place in this planet’s web of life and in the greater cosmos beyond.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

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Five Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier in Life – Day 262 of 365 Days to a Better You

Sometimes I wish we could live life in reverse. There are things we learn along the way that would have been good to know from the beginning. Here are five things I eventually figured, but could have send to my advantage earlier than I received them.

  1. Nobody has the WHOLE truth, but everyone has a piece of it. There’s no one walking the face of this planet who has everything figured out and can hand it to you. Take the time, as people come in and out of your life, to glean the piece of truth or wisdom each has to offer.
  2. Don’t stress about a relationship. I spent much of my 20s and early 30s worried I’d never meet someone. Relax and be open. The universe has you covered. There IS someone out there for you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not to attract or impress. Just do you and you’ll attract the right person.
  3. “Thoughts, as Mike Dooley says, “become things.” Your thinking has a HUGE impact on your outcomes in life. Thinking negatively yourself or being subjected to negative thinking early in life can torpedo your progress repeatedly until you figure out this one.
  4. Everyone doesn’t have to like you. In fact, get over yourself. Not everyone will like you guaranteed. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you or the other person. Some people just don’t vibe with you. It’s perfectly and it’s not personal.
  5. There are no extra points for staying within the lines. Human societies are massive conformity machines. There’s all kinds of conscious and unconscious conditioning to keep you in the herd. The problem pretty much every person I know that’s happy and successful broke free from that conditioning to one extent or another and carved their own path in the world.

I’m sure I could come up with a more exhaustive list. These are five big ones. Some of them you learn once and you’re good. Others you may have to learn again multiple times in your life. Mastering them makes your life go a lot more smoothly.

THANK YOU for your support of this blog. Will you please do me a favor and share it with a couple friends? Have an AWESOME day!

Ray

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Your Ever-Ready Survival Pack – Day 255 of 365 Days to a Better You

Life, I think you’d agree, is not a straight line from here to there, from poverty to riches, from ignorance to enlightenment. It’s a gnarly, windy road that can lead you astray, if you let it. Being human, we often let it.

One of my all-tine favorite quotes is a simple piece of profound wisdom that can instantly act as a survival pack on that road you and I are walking. When all has gone off track, this quote gives you all you need to get restarted.

As with most useful quotes, it’s often changed and misattributed. It’s normally attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt or tennis great Arthur Ashe. The Roosevelt attribution is a little closer as the quote comes from his 1913 autobiography. However, he uses it quoting Squire Billy Widener.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.

Eleven words of sheer genius.

    It begins with do what you can. You don’t have pull off a miracle or make up 20 points on one play or change the world in an instant. Just do what you can.
    Next do it with what you’ve got. You don’t need obtain a Master’s degree or someone else’s approval or have more money in the bank to begin. You can begin with what you’ve got.
    Finally, do it where you are. You don’t need to wait for the perfect moment. You don’t need to undo what’s been done. You don’t need to move to a new city. You can start right where you are.

It all seems very simple, but how often do you and I place all kinds of conditions on beginning a change? We’re always looking for a better time, a better place, a better situation. Those are myths. They don’t exist or, if they do, you’ll wait your life away in the hope they might one day arrive.

You don’t need them. You have your ever-ready survival pack in this quote – Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are. You have permission to use it without orders from headquarters.

The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step, but the first step begins by beginning.

In case no one else has told you today, YOU are amazing! Rock on!

Ray

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Are You an Open-Minded Person? – Day 250 of 365 Days to a Better You

I did a recent poll on my Twitter and Facebook account asking if people consider themselves an open-minded person. Not surprisingly, the results came back with 78 percent of people claiming the open-minded mantle.

Being open-minded or seen to be open-minded is generally considered a positive trait in our society and one most people readily claim. You always get the person, when you ask a question like this, that quotes the old phrase, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” That aside, most want to be seen this way.

Here’s my question for you (and me) today. Are you truly open-minded?

The phrase is defined by Dictionary.com as “being open to new ideas, unprejudiced.” Merriam-Webster defines it as, “receptive to arguments or ideas.”

We human beings have a tendency to hold onto our cherished beliefs about the world against all facts. Are you truly open to ideas that might question your religious faith? Are you receptive to ideas that might change your political ideology? Do you really judge every idea on its merits and put aside previous biases?

The fact is no one does or probably can remain open-minded 100 percent of the time. We’d be shifting our paradigms by the moment as more information arrived and we’d find it hard to live our lives.

That said, it is useful to sincerely gauge your level of openness to new ideas. Do you really listen to new ideas or ideas that question your paradigms or do you immediately dismiss, attack, and become argumentative in defense of your cherished ideas? Do you really measure your beliefs against the bar of your current knowledge or do you hold onto them because “that’s what we’ve always believed?”

This leaves many of us with a kind of cognitive dissonance between how open we believe we are and how open we actually are?

Here’s my challenge to you against the backdrop of a culture deeply divided by paradigms with wide gulfs and little understanding. Can you push yourself a little bit more? Can you hear the other person out before you automatically decide you disagree? Can you facts-test your beliefs once in a while? Can you give a little ground on the idea that your side has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

If you can do that and I can do that and enough people in our culture can do that, healing and more dialogue are possible. Change that serves everyone can be achieved.

No pressure, but this is one of those things that really starts with you. If you’re waiting for your proverbial “them” to be more open first, you may wait a long time. Someone has to show the glimmer of enlightenment. Let it be you and me!

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. I hope today’s post spoke to you. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend or two.

Have a great Friday!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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