Failure isn’t what we think it is

First, please do yourself a favour and listen to ‘Ologies with Alie Ward’ ‘s episode on volitional psychology (ie PROCRASTINATION). 

While hilarious, it also includes bombs of insight like this one:

The question in life isn’t ‘Are you going to fail?’, the question is ‘WHEN will you fail?’

For context, they got onto the topic of indecisiveness – a form of procrastination, and how that relates to perfectionism. 

They give the example here:

Dr Ferrari: “There’s a movie theatre in Aurora that has 31 movies. You don’t take the indecisive to 31 movies…why? Cus you’ll stand there and you’ll say ‘so what do you want to see?’ and what will they say?” 

Alie: (thoroughly entertained) “I don’t know what do you want to see?”

Ferrari: “‘then we really gotta decide, what do you want to see?’ What’d they say?”

Alie: Um they have you pick and then they don’t like it

Ferrari: “so they make YOU choose, so it’s never their fault” 

It’s so hard to decide what movie to watch because we don’t want to choose the ‘wrong’ one. We focus so much more on avoiding making a mistake, than making a potentially good choice.

And it ties in with my video on the paradox of choice, where the more options we have, the more we’ll experience this indecisiveness. 

So I’m trying to recondition my idea of failure.

For so long, we’re taught that mistakes are bad (red markers on our tests), and 100% scores are good. But interestingly, Dr Ferrari mentions this:

You’re most content, you’re most healthy with 85% success and 15% failure…some failure makes us most adjusted

And that makes sense. 

Without failure, our successes don’t stand out. We need failure for perspective, to teach us when we need to adjust and do something different. 

A common example is:

Babies don’t give up when they stumble and fall. Mistakes are mistakes, neither good or bad, and they learn to adjust themselves to stand and walk. 

And a great analogy by Dr Ferrari:

When god made us, she gave us knees to bend. We’re going to fall…those knees get you down and those knees get you up. 

Failure is natural, we’re meant to experience it. Resisting failure serves no one. Also, perfect doesn’t exist. 

And lastly,

The question is, did you learn? Did you grow? Did you move on beyond the failure? 

That’s the most important thing. Failure is here to teach us how to move forward. Life is pretty bumpy, and making mistakes keep us on track. What we want to avoid, is ignoring them, and repeating the same things later on. 




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