This week has been about building confidence. All week, I’ve suggested things you can do to increase your confidence. You should invest in yourself; teach others; practice good posture; breathe; listen, think, then speak; and eliminate toxic people. Today’s tip is not something that you can do, but it’s something that you should keep in mind and remember. For everyone on this planet, life is a learning process.
From your birth until your death, you will have a series of successes and failures. Everyone will. Even the most successful person you can imagine will have hardships and failure along the way.
Sure, some people are lucky, and some people are just that good, but everyone is in the same boat. As failure happens, you examine what went wrong, and you figure out what you’re going to do differently next time.
Thomas Edison has some of my favorite inspirational quotes about failure. Edison, who is best known as the inventor of the light bulb and the phonograph, held over 1,000 patents for his inventions. Let’s think about that. Those are just the inventions that he was proud of, that he thought could help other people. That certainly doesn’t count all the inventions that didn’t really work like he planned.
My favorite Thomas Edison quote is, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Another astute Edison quote is “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
If You’re Not Failing, You’re Missing Out!
The quote “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” was an integral part of my childhood. If my family had a motto, it would be that. Consequently, I kept dancing when I wanted to quit and worked jobs that I hated.
Let me assure you that anytime you do something you don’t want to do (like continue dance classes or work a job that you hate), you feel like you’re failing. You wonder what you’ve done wrong to put yourself in such a miserable situation and your self-confidence waivers. However, there is so much to learn in these situations.
For example, after my mom told me I couldn’t quit dance, we found a new dance studio, where I discovered modern dance. After finding modern, I actually started enjoying dancing again. I danced in an elite touring group, and we were even selected to perform at a Dance St. Louis event that typically features only ballet pieces.
Working a job you don’t like is a little bit tougher pill to swallow. Here you are doing something you don’t like for an indefinite amount of time. Obviously, you can’t do that forever. However, while you’re here, take a moment to think about what specifically you don’t like. Take the time to learn about yourself so that you can set yourself up to make better choices about your employment in the future.
Even if you feel like you’re in a bad spot right now, take the time to observe what exactly it is that’s making you unhappy. Learn about your dislikes and pet peeves so you can move forward to a better position.
Life Is a Learning Process
Several years ago, I was selected to attend a leadership class presented by the United Way in our community. For an entire year, we learned about our community–its needs, its services, and its history. About halfway through the year, we were split into groups and challenged to create a project to help the community without participating in fundraising.
Naturally, as a class full of achievers, we were stressed and a little panicked at the idea of creating something meaningful for the community with no funds. Simply giving an idea for a project that could address a community need seemed insufficient. As my group struggled and worried that our project was not sufficient enough, our adviser told us, “It’s about the process.”
In fact, he said it so many times that it started feeling like a tiny barb. Each time we would ask him a question, he would give the same answer. “It’s about the process.” The answer felt unhelpful. I wondered why he came to our meetings if that’s the only help he was going to give.
Finally, one day, I had an epiphany. Really, it didn’t matter what our project was. We were creating something for the good of the community and we, as community leaders, were learning how to communicate and work with each other to accomplish a goal. It was our team work on a project created to improve our community that was the true success.
It’s About the Process
The whole time, our adviser had been giving us the answer, and I never realized it. It’s about the process. As we go through life, we’ll have successes and failures. Those aren’t what’s important. Those aren’t what define you. It’s what you do before and after your successes and failures that matter.
As you move forward, keep this in mind. Life is a learning process–for everyone.
What are some tricks you use to boost your confidence? Let us know in the comments below.
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