How To Stop Internalizing Your Failures

I completely forgot to write an article for today. I woke up this morning, wrote for something else and midway through the day, I realized it was Wednesday. I failed.

I hate feeling like my writing is rushed because I like to think and really feel my writing. So instead, I thought I going to post a question from our recent book.

“Wait, what? You wrote a book?” – Everyone

Recently, Steven and I wrote a book called “Not So Frequently Asked Questions.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because clearly we’re just writers and failed at marketing. We were so focused on the content and quality of the book that we forgot to build anticipation. Here is one question from our new book:

“How do I stop internalizing failure and beating myself up? I have this problem. I internalize everything! If I fail at something even if I worked hard at it and even if some things were out of my control, I get really down on myself for a long time. As this happens I doubt my capabilities, motivation, intelligence etc. and blame myself for every failure in my life. I try to not be like this but it’s just in my nature.” – Angela

Dear Angela,

I’ve personally failed at a lot of things throughout my short life. I’ve failed school courses, businesses, writing, and worst of all, people. I’ve gotten down on myself. It’s hard to pick up and start something knowing all my past failures.

But through all my failures, there is always one thing that stands out. Failures are just another facet of life. Everyone fails. The majority of people, including myself, share your position, so take comfort in that.

There are a few things that I’ve figured out along the way to stop internalizing my failures. It begins and ends with your perspective. If you change the way you perceive failure, you alter how it impacts you.

Failure is okay

You can learn valuable life lessons from every failure. Without them, there wouldn’t be lessons and without lessons, there wouldn’t be successes. Don’t let your defeats be in vain. Learn, progress and strive for something better.

I’ve realized that failures are significantly more common than successes. Life is a series of disappointments peppered with miniature successes. Even the most accomplished person has had more failures than successes.

There’s so much we can learn from our defeats. The moment we see them as opportunities rather than embarrassments, we no longer fear encountering them. Welcome your failures with open arms. Appreciate your failures for what they are: an integral part of building a better you.

Don’t be afraid of disappointment

It is interesting that failure is something everyone experiences; yet most people are afraid of it. They are afraid of screwing up or disappointing someone, or worse, themselves. Sometimes I am afraid too, but we have to rise above these fears.

If you play it safe and stay in your comfort zone, your life will be a basket full of regrets. You will have more regrets about things you didn’t do rather than things you did and failed at. You will regret not allowing yourself to fail more.

When I started working out, I was timid. I was afraid of what people might think. I couldn’t get over the hump of the judgmental stares. I limited myself to certain activities to avoid ridicule.

I was afraid to try new things because people would laugh if I failed. In most cases, your failures only matter to you. In the brevity of human life, failure does not matter.

Failure is necessary in order to succeed

You must fail consistently, for long periods of time. Falling flat on your face is the best motivator. When we started the YouTube channel, I failed consistently. I still fail consistently. Steven is a good actor and compared to him, I’m a peanut.

I made the same mistakes over and over again. I couldn’t wrap my head around certain lines. My bloopers were almost endless as I struggled to achieve a few good takes.

But as I made the same mistakes repeatedly, I slowly learned. Through failures you slowly gain and hone abilities, one at a time. Use each failure as a plank of wood; eventually building a bridge that leads to your goals.

We often get wrapped up in past thinking. The thoughts hinder us from reaching our full potential. It is a barrier designed to prevent you from achieving great things. It prevents you from moving forward.

I hold on to certain aspects of the past, which prevents me from progressing. But in the end, never doubt your capabilities and never doubt the power of failure.

This is just one question out of the nineteen others in the book. I consider my goal achieved if I can help just one person. The value in this book will bring me closer to that goal, but more importantly, it will help you.

I’m sorry again. I promise I will make it up to all of you next week with something spectacular. Until then,

Be bold, be free, and love on.

The 1% Rule and Goals vs. Systems

When I first started working out, I wanted to see abs immediately. I remember waking up every morning and staring into my full-length mirror from every angle, simultaneously playing with the lighting in my washroom.

I woke up and started my day with disappointment. I never saw any change day-by-day. Everything looked the same. One giant ball of fat. When I look back now and remember where my body was and where it is now, I realized I’ve changed a lot.

Day-by-day it’s hard to see changes. But when you look back in time, everything seems different. For me, my goal has shifted from getting abs before (date), to improving a little everyday. The 1% rule is the most effective way to improve.

The 1% Rule

Every week aim to improve by 1% physically, emotionally, and mentally. A series of baby steps is less daunting than having the overarching goal of ‘have abs before (date),’ or ‘be happy,’ or ‘be smarter.’

Those goals are too large and hard to satisfy, in their own right. But when you aim to improve by 1% every week, you stop focusing on the big picture.

Improvement is made through a succession of little steps, not one large grandiose move.

Be active everyday (and eat healthy) and abs will be around the corner. Find happiness in the little day-to-day activities. Start reading or researching something you’re interested in everyday.

Whatever it may be, improving on it by just 1% each week adds up. Before you realize, you’ll look back and see how much you’ve changed.

Throw Away Goals, Develop Systems

Goals are okay for most people, in the sense that it provides some rough estimation of an endgame. Other than that, goals are terrible.

Sometimes you have too many goals and can’t satisfy them. Sometimes, you never reach your goals and are discouraged completely. Goals are terrible in that sense.

Instead, develop a system. Systems > goals. A system is a particular way of doing something, each time improving on it. A goal is just an endgame. When I started working out I would do abs every single day.

I had the goal of getting abs within the first 3 months (I failed). Then I moved that goal to the next 6 months (I failed). I was frustrated and moved it to within a year (I failed).

And I kept failing. I realized I had my mind so dead-set on the goal that I forgot about the system. My goal was abs and I did abs (that didn’t work). My system was be active everyday and I got abs (that worked).

Doing abs every single day became repetitive. I changed up the routine all the time, but before long, I burnt out. I would go through these ‘phases’ of short bursts of abs, followed by long hiatuses.

Goals never work. When I switched to the system, the mere daily activity made my abs show. For me, I believe systems are better than goals. Develop your own systems that improve you by just 1% every week.

You will see real physical, emotional, and mental changes each week and it will keep you coming back for more. You will thank me for it.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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