As a word, it elicits quite a negative feeling. Quite often we label tasks, or life events that we are unable to conquer as a failure and attach these negative emotions we feel to the concept.
Recently, I have undertaken a few new clients who have needed some balance work to help improve the quality of their life (as well, good balance cleans up the neural pathways and makes training for any level more efficient.)
Through our first rounds of simple exercises involving various positions that off center the gravity, they were able to complete the tasks I gave them, albeit with great difficulty, but enough to their satisfaction they attached the feeling of accomplishment to them; as they should!
But, with balance, fitness, or obstacles in life, without failing the task, there is no improvement. There is no progressing forward, or learning the value of a lesson.
It’s a hard truth to wrap our minds around, especially when we spend our life feeling negative about failure.
As we continued to progress to increasingly difficult exercises, the clients reached a breaking point: They could not complete the task I assigned them to their satisfaction of “perfection” and began to become frustrated. These frustrations lead to disruption in their concentration and favoring speed over form. This then lead to the difficulty of the task increasing even more and becoming more of an “impossible” obstacle to their frame of mind.
Thus … the cycle began.
Increasing levels of frustration, created a greater deficit in difficulty for the task at hand.
This is not synonymous with just balance exercises, or any task requiring fine motor skill.
This cycle of frustration and difficulty also occurs in our day to day lives.
And here’s where we begin the personal anecdote!
Ever have one of those days where something goes wrong … and then another thing … and another until all of a sudden the whole day just becomes one of those “I can’t wait till this horrible no good rotten day is over” kind of things?
Ever then had that day turn into a week …
A Month …
Nothing goes right, and you find yourself just waiting for the next bad thing to happen?
This is the same vicious cycle that can prevent us from conquering skills, fine motor activities, personal demons, and even life achievements.
If we remain in that negative mindset, it will never get easier, and we will never progress. We will simply wait for the next bad thing, the next failure, the next negative feeling.
Yikes. That doesn’t sound like much fun when you break it down, does it?
Living 10 moments in the future expecting the failure out of frustration, we start to forget what is going on right here, right now, and we miss things. We miss something beautiful, or a small success, or an opportunity and fall into a perpetual cycle.
This is a reality when acquiring a new skill, setting goals, or even how we view our lives and the directions they are taking. We may quit the process of acquiring the skill, end our pursuit of a goal, or live in fear and anger.
So here’s my parallel…
One goal I had set for myself when I started this blog on healthy living and mindful-living was that no matter what, no matter how much I didn’t like what I had written, I would post something every Friday. This almost didn’t happen this Friday.
A string of disappointments occurred in rapid succession and I fell into the cycle I always try to steer others away from. My thought patterns became negative, and I had more or less committed early in the week already that I had failed and there would be no post this week.
I kept waiting for the next bad thing, and the bad things kept happening.
Fortunately, through the kind words of a friend, I was able to snap myself out of it, and rather than objectifying the bad things, I started to draw inspiration from what was going on around me.
After that point, my productivity shot back up, and I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this week and share with all of you.
My failures and short comings were not a result of me being a victim of the universe. They were a test, a heavy set, a balance exercise I had never tried, a skill I did not practice yet; a way to learn, and better myself, an opportunity to fail to allow for growth.
Tying this all back in, this is why we continue to lift weight until the muscles cannot complete the repetition, the volitional fatigue point.
This is why we practice a skill a thousand times to refine it and become the best.
This is why we teeter and totter during a difficult balance exercise, so the brain can learn which muscle fibers to use.
This is why we are faced with difficult situations in life, so we can overcome them, and be mentally prepared to push ourselves through the next tough time.
Like the friend who offered me kind words to digest, while working with my clients who were frustrated at their balance, I had them stop, take a breath, and objectively look at what it was they were doing and trying to achieve.
Almost like a light-switch, the form began to refine its self, and the shift in focus was immediately evident. The frustration with failure was replaced with a sense of challenge and opportunity for growth.
So remember friends: Be it in the gym, while learning a new skill, facing a difficult life situation or a bad day, attitude is everything and will either make you or break you. The choice is always yours and no one can take that from you.
Rise to the challenge and make yourself better, or victimize yourself into the cycle.