Try, Try and Try Again

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Prof. Sky Alton
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Try, Try and Try Again

Post by Prof. Sky Alton »

Failure is an unfortunate part of life. No matter how talented you are at something or how hard you work, chances are that you'll experience it to some degree in everything you attempt. Learning to deal with it and move past it is crucial in life.

It's something I have to wrestle with every November as I try to encourage people over the finish line for National Novel Writing Month. I can cheer on and congratulate the people who do well but the truly crucial bit is to console the people who don't quite achieve their goal. The advice I always give them is to treat every word they wrote as a small victory: it's progress they didn't have before and they have no idea where those words might take them in future.

I'm not very good at following my own advice. I'm still very prone to taking failure too much to heart. So it got me wondering, do any of you have tips for how to process and move forward from a setback?
"Just another life to live, just a word to say, just another love to give, and a diamond day."
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February Fortescue
Silver Arrow
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:24 pm
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Re: Try, Try and Try Again

Post by February Fortescue »

This is a tough one! I guess I don't see all failure as being the same. There are some activities I already know I'm probably not very good at. Some I'll believe I'll get better at with practice, and others I figure I'll never really master. If I decide to participate in each of them, regardless, I don't feel like a failure, because I had a good idea of what the outcome would be.

I work very hard to limit sugar (me, definitely not my HOL character :D ) and I do at times feel like I've failed on the occasions when I go overboard, especially during the holidays. I'm not too hard on myself, though, because I succeed most of the time, and sometimes I think deserve an occasional exception.

For me, it's most challenging when I'm really proud of something I've spent a lot of time on, but others seem to judge it quite harshly. It's also tough when I've worked really hard towards something and really wanted it, and not succeeded in obtaining it. When this happens, I ask myself why I chose to do what I did in the first place. Did I do anything I wish I had not done? Is there anything I regret doing? The answer is almost always "no." Even if no one else appreciates my project, I enjoyed doing it, and I did my best. I considered the goal worth pursuing, and if I didn't enjoy the activities and think them worth doing I wouldn't have done them in the first place. In other words, what is the point of getting first place in a foot race if you don't enjoy running? If I failed at something that didn't really matter to me, it wouldn't bother me so much.

Sometimes we do have to set difficult goals for things we don't actually enjoy, and I think that requires a really strong motivator. In this case, we have to focus on the reason we have to reach the goal, I think.

So, basically, I remind myself why I chose the activity in the first place.
No matter where you go, there you are.
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