atlanta · lessons · life · self-discovery · travel · wisdom

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat

I recently stumbled upon an article titled “8 Overlooked Factors to Overcome Failure – in Sports, Business, Relationships and Beyond” by Garret Kramer and wanted to share it with you all. Kramer writes that we shouldn’t try to control our thoughts as we progress through the stages following a perceived failure, but challenge ourselves to dive into the thoughts themselves – experiencing and analyzing them so we can come out on the other side having learned the necessary lessons instead of pretending they didn’t happen to avoid feeling the pain. Essentially, in order for us to learn what was intended from the experience and prevent it from happening again, we must let ourselves grieve and work through the questions, uncertainties and frustrations. Easier said than done, am I right? 
Take a look at the list below – and consider how these items hold weight in your personal quest for success, contentment, and long-term productivity:
  1. People who overcome failure do not try to control their thoughts.
The human mind is designed to find clarity by replacing old thought with fresh thought. Those who thwart this process by trying to look on the bright side only perpetuate their own struggles, disappointments, and confusion.
My response: I’ve done some crazy stuff to try and keep thinking positively. During a breakup, I actually heeded the advice of a friend and placed a rubber band on my wrist – snapping it each time thoughts of my ex popped up. All I was left with was a raw wrist (and a little resentment towards my friend and myself for buying into the dumb idea). I think it’s a bit healthier to say – I will accept my thoughts, letting them come and go naturally as they occur. If I’m feeling happy, BE HAPPY. If I happen to be feeling sad, I will allow myself to be sad, only if I take the time to understand WHY I’m feeling sadness. Can I change the situation? Good, make a change. Am I feeling sad over a past love? Stop romanticizing the person who hurt me. Ultimately we should spend less time trying to change our thoughts and a bit more time getting to the root of the thought, so we can prevent them from reoccurring in the first place! 
  1. People who overcome failure know the difference between their life and their life situations.
Your life is a constant; your life situations are always in flux. One key to overcoming failure is to grasp that losing has no bearing on your level of self-worth or esteem.
My response: AMEN! This point is precisely why I’m writing this post today. Lately, in a very uncharacteristic manner for myself, I have had a hard time distinguishing my life situations from my actual life. Meaning? Well, let’s say I have a particular set back… maybe I missed a meal or didn’t push myself as hard as I should during training. Suddenly I’m not going to be ready for my show. Or I miss the mark with a project at work. All of a sudden I’m failing and surely everyone can notice. These feelings are quite honestly such a far departure from how I normally conduct myself. Usually I am a very self-confident person. I know what I can offer a company, a friend, a man. I rarely doubt my own self-worth, so you can imagine how difficult it has been in the moments when I let a singular life situation cloud my judgement on my actual life. Let this be a reminder to all of us that we can get knocked down 8 times, so long as we get up 9.
  1. People who overcome failure rarely set goals. 
My response: As a self-admitted “goal-setter,” this was eye-opening. After my divorce 4+ years ago, I set a goal to become more fit. I took up running and began checking off goals such as hitting the gym at least 5 days a week and completing a 5,10 AND 15k. The next year I stepped up my goal-setting and joined CrossFit and began competing. The following year I set a monster goal and completed a triathlon. And last year was no different. I set a goal to become certified to teach barre and landed a gig with (in my opinion) the best studio here in Atlanta. And this year – as all my readers are well aware, I’ve set the goal to compete in an National Physique Committee (NPC) show (I’m coming for you, Music City Muscle Championships!!). And those are only my fitness related goals!! If I went into my goals surrounding friends, family, G-d and relationships, you’d be reading for days! I guess my point is, Kramer’s article opened up my eyes to the possibility that my goal-setting may be limiting my options! The silver lining in missing a goal is that those who overcome failure recognize that any and all outcomes are an opportunity for growth, new possibilities, and future achievement.
  1. People who overcome failure know that their reality is created from the inside out. 
Your experience does not create your state of mind; your state of mind creates your experience. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel upset if you don’t win, but those who learn from the experience of losing know that their thinking, and not the loss itself, is the cause of the upset. The outcome (the loss) remains, but your thinking and your perspective is guaranteed to change.
My response: There aren’t many things as powerful as a positive mindset. The ability to see the beauty around you, even when things aren’t perfect (when is life really perfect, anyway?!). I think everyone, to some degree, struggles with this – but it’s true – when we let ourselves see the positivity and blessings around us, things are just…. easier 🙂
  1. People who overcome failure know that external circumstances are neutral. 
Why is it that one moment we can be distraught about a circumstance like losing a competition, and then the next moment look at the exact same circumstance and wonder why we were so down in the first place? The reason is that outside events and situations are purely neutral. Your current state of mind creates all of your external perceptions; realize this and you can overcome anything.
My response: Miss out on a promotion? Experience a painful breakup? Show up to hot yoga 15 minutes late and the door is locked (ha, that recently happened to me and I was super pissed!)? The common denominator in all of those circumstances – they’re just that. Outside events/occurrences. It’s crucial that in order to maintain our well-being (and sanity!), we take accountability for our state of mind. I’ve quoted Buddha and I’ll do it again – what we think, we become. 
  1. People who overcome failure use their feelings as their guide. 
There is nothing wrong with you if you can’t shake a disappointment. But remember, the “off” feeling in your gut is actually an intuitive sign that your thinking and perceptions are momentarily off-kilter. Those who prosper from a loss know better than to fight through a momentary lack of clarity.
Me: AH! THIS is everything. Trust YO gut. Our intuition rarely leads us astray. 
  1. People who overcome failure distrust their thoughts when they are low. 
Human beings do not see life clearly when they are low. Therefore, one secret to overcoming failure is to not believe what you think when this type of mood sets in. Resilient individuals allow insights, and answers, to arrive because they know that in a low state of mind their thinking is not helpful.
My response: I’ve heard quite often – “Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions,” and this point Kramer makes is spot on. When we are feeling sad or low, we should be wise enough to not believe everything we think in those moments of darkness. Stay strong and have faith that after every storm comes the sun. 
  1. People who overcome failure employ stillpower — not willpower. 
What happens if you press the gas pedal when your tires are stuck in mud? The key to conquering failure is to see that if you leave your letdowns unattended, your state of mind will clear and the answers will become obvious. Win or lose, every competition, relationship, or experience is leading you inward — where the gold truly rests.
My response: How many times have we all spun our wheels, stuck in a less than favorable situation and tried with all our might to fight our way out, when in reality, the simplest thing to do is let things unfold exactly how they’re intended. My mother always told me growing up that “everything comes out in the wash” and it couldn’t be more true. Every heart break, every failure, every trial – they all lead us closer towards defining who we are as individuals. Let go from work? I’m sure it made you a more conscious employee in your next role. Experienced a traumatic breakup? I bet you’re a better partner now after learning what you needed from your past relationship. Treat each experience in your life as an opportunity to collect data. Lean into the pain – don’t fight your way through it. Breath deeply and let life consume you. We are all on individual journeys – and sometimes the best views surface after the hardest climbs. 


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