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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Take Your Own Wise Counsel – Day 282 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s affirmation: I am a vast source of wisdom. I am a wise counselor. I have the answers within me.

Here’s something to stick in your back pocket today. You know an amazingly wise and perceptive person who is always ready and able to provide you fantastic advice. Fortunately, you have access to that person 365/24/7. I’m talking about you, of course. You’re a wise old owl.

“Me?” you say. “I’ve got lots of challenges I can’t figure out. How can I help myself?”

Don’t be so quick to discount yourself. It’s all a matter of perspective. You need to step outside your challenges, put on your wise counselor’s hat, and analyze your situation like you are a friend or a family member coming to you for advice.

You’ve played that role many times in your life. With some detachment, you’re amazingly wise, stunning insightful, and brimming with compassion.

Give yourself the benefit of that sagely master within you. What would you tell a friend to do in your situation? What would you caution him or her about? How would you encourage your friend?

You’re much more critical and cynical when dealing with yourself. Lend the wisdom and compassion you’d show someone you care about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this powerful internal resource walking around in you all day long.

In case no one else has told you today, you ARE amazing!

If you enjoyed this post, please take a moment to like, subscribe, and share. Thanks for your support!

Ray

Ray
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The Power of Pissed Off – Day 249 of 365 Days to a Better You

I’ve hesitated writing this post. I’ve started and stopped it several times. Today is the day. My concession is to open with a disclaimer to those who might misinterpret whist I’m saying.

Anger is dangerous. Many people wield it as a weapon against others in this world. Many have immense anger at the global political and economic system and not without some reason. Yet, their philosophy, driven by anger, holds only the hope of replacing the current angry system with another angry system more to their liking.

Anger creates physical and emotional damage in the world. It’s not a zip code you want to move into. Eventually, persistent anger consumes the angry person, leaving them alone and unhappy. That only feeds the angry fire within them.

But, and it’s a big but, anger does have a place in a healthy and wise human being. There are things that deserve some anger. Few emotional states, at least in short bursts, better focus our senses or stoke our determination like a little healthy anger. Used consciously, anger is like rocket fuel. It can move us further and faster.

Here are some tips to make your anger more conscious and productive.

  • Use anger sparingly. One of its dangers is it can become addictive. It does initially produce desired results. Some might view it as a shortcut to getting their needs met.
  • Be specific. When anger is justified, it’s because of a specific situation. Don’t be mad at the world or broad swaths of people. That’s not productive or conscious. Be clear on the what and why of your anger.
  • Avoid hatred and bigotry. Keep the source of your anger in perspective. Avoid progressing into bigotry or hatred. Refuse to dehumanize them even in response to them dehumanizing you. That creates an endless cycle anger and perhaps violence and serves no one.
  • Internal fuel. Let the anger fuel productive action. Don’t lash out at others. Let their criticism or wronging of you drive you forward. Prove them wrong rather than attacking them.
  • Recognize fear. Often anger is manifested by unresolved fear. Learn to recognize the difference. Fears can be dealt with at their root rather than precipitating anger.
  • Short bursts. As stated above, taking up residence in an angry place destroys you and all around you. Use legitimate anger in short, productive bursts. Then let it go.
  • More positive emotions. Never use anger when a more positive emotion would serve just as well. Radical love can often achieve all anger can. Forgiveness is often more powerful than staying in anger. Maybe the greatest enlightenment related to anger is getting to a place where you no longer need it or respond with it at all.

In summation, anger is like chemotherapy. It will eventually kill the patient. Your goal is to use it sparingly and in productive ways, as you slowly ween yourself off the need for it.

As Buddha said in the Dhammapada:

He insulted me, he struck me, he cheated me, he robbed me”: those caught in resentful thoughts never find peace.

He insulted me, he struck me, he cheated me, he robbed me”: those who give up resentful thoughts surely find peace.

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love. This is an unalterable law.

There are those who forget that death will come to all. For those who remember, quarrels come to an end.

Let your wisdom guide you and keep a short leash on your short fuse.

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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Rayquotes #6

Good Tuesday, my friends. Three #rayquotes to inspire your day.

Ray

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12 Pieces of Unwise Conventional Wisdom – Day 222 of 365 Days to a Better You

Axioms, idioms, proverbs, aphorisms; whatever you call them these tiny tidbits of “wisdom” permeate the popular consciousness. Many are very useful. Others, such as those below, offer abysmal and disempowering life advice.

  1. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. This is one of those things a protective mother might tell you to keep you safe. It sounds like risk aversion advice, but it’s worse. It acknowledges that you’re dealing with a person or situation worthy of being called “the devil,” but encourages you stay put because taking a chance on change is supposedly more dangerous.
  2. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln said this one so it must be true, right? Well, it’s pithy and could be true in some situations. However, most people have a hard time finding their voices. They don’t speak up, make their contribution because of fear of appearing foolish. That’s what makes this bad advice. The team, the country, the world is better off when everyone feels empowered to contribute without fear.
  3. Curiosity killed the cat. This is another one that assumes the worst and culls one of our most important traits as humans – our curiosity. Celebrate and be inspired by curiosity. Don’t fear it,
  4. Do as I say not as I do. This one requires little commentary. Never use this in someone else and never let it be used in you.
  5. Do not upset the Apple cart. Um, look around at the world. We need more people willing to upset the apple cart not fewer.
  6. East is east, west is west, and never the twain shall meet. This one is a battlecry for dogma. What is is. There are absolutes that can’t be changed. So why try? Nonsense. Beyond birth and death little else is unchangeable.
  7. You can’t teach and old dog new tricks. This one claims that once you reach a certain age, it’s too late to learn or change or that people can never change. Neither is absolutely true. As long as there’s breath there’s hope. It’s never too late to be the person you came here to be.
  8. All’s fair in love and war. Here’s a mindset that’s simply justification for bad behavior. No wonder relationships are in such chaos in our culture. Love is not a competitive sport. It’s not an excuse to become cut-throat. Aspire to something higher in your relationships.
  9. Every man has his price. This assumes that all people are unprincipled if tempted enough. It also is saying that normalizes this idea.
  10. Fight fire with fire. Here’s the mantra of people content to be vengeful and get even. Consider putting fires out in the world rather than pouring oil on them.
  11. Great minds think alike. I get that this one is usually said in fun when two people have the same thought. In truth, though, great minds think for themselves.
  12. Ignorance is bliss. This is among the most commonly used on this list and among the worst advice. It promotes apathy, disempowerment, and dependency. A strong human being ought never live in more ignorance than his or her seeking to date has left undiscovered.

There are more of these and I may do a second post on this down the line. Just because you’ve heard something said you’re whole life like it’s wise, doesn’t mean it is.

You’re all amazing. Take that to the bank! Have a great Sunday.

Ray

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Random Thoughts #16 – Not Knowing is OK

One of the great things about little kids is they are not as afraid as we adults to not know what they want. It’s totally OK sometimes to not know what you want. Stay with it. Go within. Your answers are there.

 

 

My 15 Favorite Albert Einstein Quotes

Today’s Affirmation:

When I am open to bigger possibilities, I am open to bigger outcomes!

Many think of Albert Einstein as that wild-haired mathematician, physicist, smartest guy of all-time, or the E=MC2 guy. Today many have forgotten that he was also a great thinker, philosopher, statesmen, and advocate for humanity in his time.

His ideas led to massive advances in many fields, including warfare and weaponry – the atomic bomb. He was keenly aware of the responsibility humanity had to use his genius – our genius – wisely.

He had is flaws and his personal problems like the rest of us. To me, that only makes him more human and his genius more approachable.

Today I am sharing my 15 favorite Albert Einstein quotes. Some of them will not be new to you. I hope a few of them will provide new insights into the man and into yourself.

  1. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  2. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
  3. “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
  4. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
  5. “I speak to everyone the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of a university.”
  6. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
  7. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
  8. “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”
  9. “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
  10. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
  11. “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
  12. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
  13. “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”
  14. “Everything must be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Finally, Einstein wrote:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorRay’s 2015 speculative fiction novel, Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation, is turning heads. Where did humanity really come from and where is it going? This is Book 1 of a trilogy. The Awakening has begun!

Learn more about the trilogy and order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com.