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.


buddha what we think

Over the last couple of years I have become fascinated with the idea that everything in your life is a result of what goes on in your mind.

If there are two twins that are the exact same in every way, except that one is relentlessly positive and the other is endlessly negative, their lives would be completely different.

They could encounter the exact same scenarios and obstacles but they would perceive them in different ways. The positive person would see them as a chance to grow, and the negative person would see them as evidence that you can never succeed.

With this in mind I am convinced that learning to skew your mind towards the positive and the useful is the best way to completely transform your life.

Here are the three steps to learning to control your mind like a Jedi.

1) Observe your thoughts.

In order to start controlling the endless chatter in your mind you first have to get rid of the idea that you are your thoughts.

We tend to think that the chatter in our mind is who we are and that is it, but that is just a part of who you are. You are your whole body from top to bottom and your entire subconscious, not just your conscious thoughts.

Now what you need to do is to step back from your thoughts and observe them. Start keeping track of when you are thinking negatively. The next time you find yourself upset, step back for a second and think “Wow, I have a lot of negative thoughts right now.”

Doing this will help you catch yourself in these useless reflexive thought cycles. Nothing good comes from beating yourself up or feeling sorry for yourself so the more you start to catch yourself, the quicker you can implement my next step.

2) Cancel your negative thoughts.

Now that you are starting to keep an eye on what you are thinking instead of just letting the chatter go on, you can start to pull yourself out of these habitual thought patterns.

Your brain doesn’t like using a lot of energy, so if you are a person who naturally reacts negatively, your mind will jump to that first because it is easy. Doing something outside of the norm requires conscious effort, something your brain would rather avoid.
Yeah, thanks evolution, we really appreciate that…

My favourite way to pull myself out of my bad habitual thought cycles is to use an “interrupt mantra.”

An interrupt mantra is something that you start repeating over and over once you realize that you are in one of these cycles. It will replace your useless thoughts with the exact opposite and more useful thoughts.

If you are someone who has problems with procrastination, once you realize that you are thinking “Man, I hate doing this work, I just want to relax and watch some Netflix” you have to switch to your interrupt mantra. It could be something like “I am energized and ready to take on anything. I’ll conquer this project with ease and energy to spare.”

Repeat that as many times in a row as you have to and after a while of canceling your negative thoughts, your mind will start to reflexively jump to the positive and more useful thoughts.

It only makes sense that your procrastination will naturally shrink when your reflexive thoughts are that of being energized and ready to conquer the obstacles ahead of you.

Interrupt mantras can work for any negative thoughts. If you have negative thoughts about your confidence interrupt them with “I am an amazing and confident person. I am going to start giving myself the credit I deserve.”

If you have problems with willpower interrupt those thoughts by saying “I have tons of willpower to spare. I am a strong person who can beat any temptation with ease.”

Rinse and repeat as many times as needed whether it be ten, twenty, or thirty times in a row.

3) Meditation.

This step isn’t required, but it will make the whole process ten times easier. When I started meditating I didn’t realize just how impactful it would be. I also didn’t realize how many of my favourite celebrities and great thinkers meditated.

Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Katy Perry, to Oprah Winfrey and more credit meditation as a key part of their success and ability to stay balanced.

We could discuss meditation for hours, the spiritual aspects, the physical effects it has on the brain over time or even just the calming effect it can create instantly. But for now there is one plus side to meditation that I want to share with you.

It allows you to step back from your thoughts.

With the type of meditation I do the point is to focus on your breath so intensely that your thoughts cease. Now, during meditation you are sure to have thoughts pop into your head. In this case you just allow them to surface without analyzing them, and then get back to focusing on your breathing. If you get an itch on your leg, you feel it, but then immediately bring your attention back to your breath.

This will train you to be able to have a thought or emotion surface without allowing it to pull you into its rabbit hole. This way when something happens in your daily life that aggravates you, instead of stewing over it for hours and ruining your whole day you can step back and say “is this really a useful thing to focus on? Do these thought patterns improve my life in any way shape or form, or do they just serve to steal energy and happiness from me?”

Armed with this ability to step back and question these reflexive thoughts, you can truly start to control your mind and use it for your own self improvement.

A quote that has been repeated by many of the great minds of the world, and is very close to my heart is: “The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

This quote perfectly explains the two different relationships you can have with your mind.

Either you control it, or it controls you. The decision is yours.

With love
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

Endless Progression

Today was the first day at school. I was sitting in the lecture hall and I was looking at my older articles for inspiration to write about. I just couldn’t think of a topic.

Clearly, I was not paying attention to the lecture. I do not enjoy school, but that’s neither here nor there.

Earlier in my writing ‘career,’ I wrote an article untitled “The Summer Bucket List.” This article outlined everything I wanted to achieve by the end of the summer.

In it I mentioned skydiving, lavish trips to Vegas and NYC, and the ‘Go’ Game, among many other things.

As I was looking at this list, I realized that I hadn’t achieved any of it. I was a total failure. I set a bunch of goals and didn’t accomplish any of them. It was disheartening.

But, I had done other things. And while they weren’t listed goals, they were important. They helped me grow in more ways than one. I am a different person because of them.

For example, I started a business with my mother selling Indian sauces. That was a huge accomplishment. I started learning Spanish. That was a huge accomplishment. I became more focused, serious (in terms of life), and confident. That was a huge accomplishment.

Some things can be overlooked

Goals are just goals. Yes, it is incredibly important to have concise goals. But some things can be overlooked. Sure, I didn’t skydive. But really, if I did, would it have changed me?

Sure I didn’t go to NYC and Vegas. But, if I did, would I have made me any different? I feel like I would have had a lot of fun, been in the hole a few thousand dollars, and continued the same path that I was on.

I wasn’t able to finish the summer bucket list. That’s okay. I am still progressing, still changing, and still improving.

Two Sides to Every Coin

Life is interesting. There are literally two (or more) ways to deal with every situation. There is never one route to consider. I love that about life.

I could have looked at my incomplete list and been completely shattered. I could have wallowed in my own failures and stayed sedentary. There is no progress in wallowing. There is only self-loathing and self-pity.

That route leads to nowhere. You continue to dwell in the past mistakes and failures and hinders your ability to move forward, to look at the other routes.

For me, I’ve realized that there are two options: an optimistic and a pessimistic option. I opt for the optimistic approach. I just feel overall better when doing so.

Inadvertently, I realized an incredible lesson today. Goals are incredibly important. It can be the difference in achieving and not achieving something. They are necessary to progressing, developing, and growing.

As long as you are progressing in one-way or another, you’re doing great. Sedentary behavior produces a sedentary self. Always look for a new way to progress, a new way to improve.

But equally as important in progressing, is the recognition of self. Next time you set a goal for yourself and don’t complete it, do not wallow.

Use it as a stepping-stone to complete at a later date. Lastly, recognize that it is not the end of the world. You are still you. You are still amazing. You are still beautiful. And you are still progressing.

Be bold, be free, and love on.


Guest Post: A Tale of Two Losses

I have the honour of presenting another guest post today! This comes from Dignified Anonymity. She is a stellar writer covering a variety of topics. You can check out her blog here!

As always, I welcome all guest posts. My hope is too one day have this blog as a massive self-help/advice forum for the WORLD to use. This my aspiration and I know it will come true! So please, do not hesitate to contact me to have your work featured here! So without further ado, I give you “A Tale of Two Losses.”


A Tale of Two Losses

Before everything else, here’s a confession: when I pitched the guest post idea to Leroy, I was talking about something like “5 important life lessons”. But alas, I found it absurdly hard to create a numbered list based on my story. So I decided to change the approach a little bit, and came up with a recap of two unforgettable events that happened in my lengthy history of more than twenty years.

Loss #1: Dumped by a guy after being together for one month.

The guy and I met at a part-time job. He said it was “love at first sight”; though I had never believed in that sort of stuff, it still sounded flattering. The relationship started one week after we met, and ended one month later. Well, actually it should have already ended when the guy started to disappear on me after two weeks, but I refused to accept the truth right away. It wasn’t my first love really, and the most intimate thing we had ever done was nothing more than kissing (on the cheek). But since he vanished, I still cried every single day as if it was the end of the world, until everything was washed away by the tears.

Lesson learnt: Give time, some time.

During the aching course of self-healing, I performed some strange rituals. I watched the entire Sex & the City DVD deluxe collection all over again (which includes all six seasons and the two movies), chatted with random strangers on Bazoocam, and deleted all characters on Diablo 3 to start from scratch again. By distracting myself with these time-consuming activities, I started to get better.

And I began to realize that no one is obliged to love us except ourselves. Just like the change of seasons, the feelings and preferences of humans will hardly be static. That’s why no matter how good a relationship is, it still has a chance to reach an end some day. And if it’s meant to happen, the only best thing we can do is to let go. There’s really no use to cling onto the past. Don’t underestimate the healing power of time; give yourself and time some time, and magic will start working. Believe or not, “this too, shall pass” is more than a common proverb.

Loss #2: Got laid off by a company.

Ironically, the layoff happened two days after my birthday. Things were perfectly normal in the morning, until that email arrived at the inbox of mine and a few other colleagues who were on the same boat. Yes, an email – the boss didn’t even bother to talk in person. The “reason” for the layoff? “Company restructure.” When a colleague demanded an explanation, the boss immediately picked up his bag and left. I was shocked, devastated, and totally caught off guard. I did not know how to tell my family and my friends about it. “How are they gonna judge me? Would I be labeled as a loser?” These thoughts alone had made me feel completely broken and even ashamed, to the extent that I would secretly doubt whether I would be able to survive the storm.

Lesson learnt: Predict and prepare for the worst before the storm actually comes.

In fact, I could sense that shadows were stirring, and a lot of the symptoms emerged before the storm actually hit. Missed revenue goals? Check. Risky pivots? Check. Shady boss? Check. But I chose to ignore them. I thought that I would become an idiotic victim of self-fulfilling prophecy if I kept thinking about those negative signs. So instead of properly preparing myself for the worst, I only wished that those symptoms would magically disappear, that they were only my illusions, and that they were merely the products of “overthinking”. But apparently, I was WRONG.

In the recent times of economic instability, it’s always better to prepare for anything, including the worst. Regardless of what your skills are, get really good at them and stay updated. At the same time, expand your toolbox through learning and exploration. The better you are equipped, the fewer worries you have; even if you were hit by a huge tsunami, you would find your lifeboat.

Last words

While no one wishes to enter the realm of agony, there’s always a time to lose in life.

And if those dramatic plots are already written on my scripts, it’s always better for them to happen sooner than later. I am no longer the same person I was before all that happened after all; “I made it through somehow, and I’m so much stronger now.”

Just Breathe.

I started this blog on a whim. I was at school and something clicked. Maybe I could publish my thoughts on the Internet.

I have problems. Maybe I can use those problems to help people. Maybe I can impact someone. I thought that I was the only one experiencing these problems. However, I discovered today that I was wrong. Everyone has thoughts swirling around their heads at all times. Everyone has problems, makes new problems and dwells on them.

I am not alone. Something inside me finds ease with that thought.

But at the same time, I don’t want to have problems. I don’t want you to have problems. The problems are always there. We make problems for ourselves. Our brain voice manifests them. We dwell and falter.

My solution is anchored in breathing. Do nothing but focus on your breathing. Feel the breath circulate through your body. Your stomach expands with air, your lifeblood, and exhale everything. Exhale your problems, your thoughts, your feelings, everything. Just focus on the cadence of your breath.

The Boxer

I made a new friend today who wants to fight (boxing, particular) in New York or Vegas, or California.

She has problems.


She’s not progressing with her trainer. Where will she live? How will she pay for her expenses? How is she going to eat and work and box and live?

The fear breeds and more problems are birthed. I have the same. Where will live when I move to California? How will I support myself? How am I going to eat and work and live? I find comfort knowing that other people have these thoughts. I am not alone.

I told her what I do. I breathe. I allow myself to dip into my body. I allow myself to focus on just that and nothing else.

Why Breathing?

Well, firstly, it works for me. It may not work for you. But here is my rationale.

Breathing is something you do everyday. It is done unconsciously and something that stays constant with you.

When you are thinking about problems, it is because you are thinking of nothing else. Your present thought is your problems. I invite you to return to your breath.

Thinking about your breathing shifts the thought from problems to your breath. If you are thinking about your breath, you are not thinking about your problems and vice versa. Breathing is a constant practice with you. It is easy to shift your focus towards that when you need a distraction.

This method seems daunting. But with practice, it gets easier and easier. Once again, feel your stomach expand and exhale.


Slowly, with time, you improve. I focus on my breathing and my mind wanders towards nothingness. For a brief period, my problems are behind me. There is only black, as my stomach expands.

I had a whole another post written for today and this was done on a whim. That girl surfaced something in me that needed to be said.

We all have problems. Unfortunately, that is a finite part of life. But when everything seems terrible, daunting and endless, I remember to just breathe.