Why You Fail
Why do people fail? The answer's easy. It’s because failure is fun.
You're probably saying, Kevin what are you talking about? Alright, just listen for a moment while I explain my point. Failure feels terrible, but to get to failure you often have a lot of fun. Instead of working on important things you may go out and party. Instead of doing the work you need to do, you might just watch TV instead. Hiding from the uncomfortable situations in life gives us short-term benefits, but hurts us in the long run. You’re either barely treading water, or you're sinking. It’s not a fun way to live.
I've talked to a lot of people who call themselves failures; most of which was unjustified. People who consider themselves failures feel that way because they keep reliving the old painful memories again and again in their mind. You need to be mindful of the past, but if you dwell there, you’ll never move forward.
You are capable of far more than you think. It’s only when someone or something pushes you past your current comfort threshold that change happens. If you don't know you can do more, you never will. Obviously, I think you can do more. All you need is a plan and some motivation.
To start with, I’d like you to begin looking for instances in your life where you are enjoying failure. What is so bad about the task you are avoiding? Are you avoiding it because you feel lazy, or because you are scared? Laziness and fear can both be cured, but they take slightly different approaches.
The cure for laziness is called “action.” When you start doing things little by little, the big things will fall into place. It’s consistent forward momentum that gets you ahead. One of the best ways to build up this action muscle is to start hanging around people who are action oriented. In Do you Care Enough to Succeed I talk about a simple way to be around action-oriented people. Volunteer! When I say that, some people say, “Awww shucks Kevin, that sounds like work.” It is work. You’ll never get anywhere without work.
The cure for fear is similar to what we talked about for laziness, but involves a little more. The word you need to remember when talking about fear is “Desensitization.” It’s a mouthful, but desensitization is what will help you break free from your fears. In its simplest terms the word desensitization means gradually building up a resistance to whatever scares you. If you’re scared to be around people, start hanging out in larger and larger groups. If you’re afraid to make phone calls, you need to start phoning. If you scared of heights….well, unless you’re an acrobat, you don’t need to worry as much about this one. I’m just kidding. The same ideas apply to heights as to any other fear. Start with something easy, and keep challenging yourself as you become desensitized. It’s a little scary, but you will never get over your fear unless you start now and keep going until you make it.
Everyone is scared of something, but most fears don’t impact your daily life, so we don’t recognize them. There is a term called Social Phobia, which describes people who have a fear of interaction with others. Since success is so intertwined with social communication, I plan on spending a number of posts on this topic in the coming months.
Just remember to keep an eye out for those situations that make you want to avoid a “must do” task and identify the reason. Recognizing the problem is the first step in correcting it. Failure is fun in the short term, but if you want lasting change, you need to change your attitude and get going.