Reframing Failure

Its time to re-frame failure. To avoid the word, people have tried to soften it by calling it a setback, major disruption, mistake, error in judgment, etc.  Use whatever word you like, it isn’t the word that is the problem, but how you interpret it, or personalize it. The stories  below are examples of how famous people have turned failure into success.

Thomas Edison: As a young boy, teachers wrote him off as someone who was unable to learn.  He was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive. He found his niche as an inventor, after 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb, 1,001 was a winner!

Bill Gates was a Harvard University dropout and co-owner of a failed business called Traf-O-Data. He was passionate about computer programming and built Microsoft, the world’s largest software company. Microsoft went public in 1986, and by 1987 Gates became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

What these individuals have in common is that they didn’t consider themselves as failures. They saw each step as a learning opportunity, that brought them closer to their goal.  They learned from their failures until they succeeded.

Nine out of 10 small businesses  fail. Seasoned entrepreneurs encourage new entrepreneurs to fail often and fast. Why? This mindset helps entrepreneurs learn from failure to improve their service or product. 

Why are we afraid of failure?

We can take failure personally by tying it to our talents and worth because we have been conditioned for success throughout our lives, for example:

  • When we were young, we were encouraged to do well in school and pass each grade. Passing a course or a grade is associated with success in life.
  • In sports, usually only the top three competitors are rewarded for their success.
  • There is competition to get into elite career programs. Getting into an elite program is an indicator of success, status, and the best of the best.
  • We need to compete successfully to get a job.

All of these reinforce success and avoidance of failure.

Studying failure

Columbia University’s Teacher’s College is studying failure through its research centre. The research centre is helping students understand that failure is a normal part of learning that leads to success.  This 2016 study, of 400+ grade 9 and 10 students, found that students thought they needed to have a natural ability to be successful. This thinking is a problem for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics because they would give up and drop out if they struggled in class or failed a test.

The researchers normalized failure by sharing stories about the struggles inventors and scientists faced before they succeeded. As as result of hearing the stories, science grades improved. Marks dropped for students that only learned about success .  The takeaway from this study is that failure is normal when you are learning or doing something new, and it is important to understand, learn where you failed, and do better the next time.

Reframing failure

Make peace with failure and move on.  You might need to feel bad about it in order to make peace with it, but don’t let it drag on, find a way to get the discouragement out of your head. Vent, journal or do what helps you clear you head and gain perspective.  Consider what happened, what you learned, and what you would do differently next time.

Taking action will help you move on. It will also help keep you from rolling it over and over in your mind.  Re-frame it as a learning and growing opportunity.

It’s a bad idea. Knowing when it is a bad idea is important so that you don’t waste time or money on it. Test out the idea, look at it from different angles, read up on it, check if it has been done before, talk to experts, learn from the mistakes of others. Take small steps to get some small wins, build confidence, and move towards your goal. 

Develop a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, a psychologist and author talks about a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.

  • The fixed mindset sees talents and abilities as things we’re born with, so when we fail, it becomes a reflection of who we are. 
  • The growth mindset is where we keep learning.  Dweck’s research found that those with a growth mindset achieve more over the long term.

Continuously Improve.Learn from industry, manufacturing, and health. These sectors have taken the lead to promote a culture of safety by learning from their failures to improve products and outcomes. They’ve re-framed failure as quality improvement.

  • The airline industry is a great example of learning from failure. When an airplane crashes, there is a thorough analysis that goes into identifying and learning what caused the crash and preventing future crashes. This analysis requires openness, patience, curiosity, and a tolerance for ambiguity. It has resulted in improved airline safety worldwide.
  • The car manufacturing industry focuses on quality management and continuous improvement, to make their cars safer.
  • Hospitals review deaths and adverse incidents to improve future outcomes by identifying the root cause and system issues involved.

Plan for roadblocks and barriers. Plan and manage your risk(s) when they arise to overcome roadblocks or barriers.

Celebrate wins .This will motivate you to keep going.

Focus on what you can control. Take action to improve the things you can.

Takeaways

Success and failure are a part of a continuum. The same qualities that causes someone to be successful can cause them to fail.

Industry is leading the way to learn from failure. They are re-framing failures as opportunities to improve safety and outcomes.

We can learn from industry to normalize failure, to use it to improve what we are doing, and see it as a step closer to success.  

What about you? What will most help you get back on track after a failure or setback?

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Leading with an Attitude of Gratitude

Photo by Debby Hudson, on Unsplash

Canadian Thanksgiving is coming this weekend. The word thanksgiving is a great word, because it is a reminder to take some time to be thankful for what we have, and for those who love and appreciate us. It can be tough though, because it is a habit that needs to be developed through practice.

When I was younger, I didn’t really have an appreciation of Thanksgiving.  My family cooked a turkey, but that was about it.  When I went away to university, I really noticed Thanksgiving for the first time.  I was too far away to go home, and I lived in residence. When my friends would go home for Thanksgiving, it was lonely.  Occasionally a friend would say “hey maybe you can come home with me for Thanksgiving dinner” but wouldn’t follow through.

During those times, I would try to make the best of it.  I took myself out to dinner, hung out with others that were staying around, go to a movie, walk around and enjoy the fall colours, and sometimes I had a pity party.  It was a tough holiday.  

It isn’t easy to be grateful when you don’t feel grateful. Those times are the hardest to dig deep to find some small thing to appreciate.

I made a point to invite those without family or plans to Thanksgiving dinner or any other holiday dinner after I graduated. I know that they were grateful for the offer whether they joined us or not, because they knew that someone was thinking of them.  My children started this practice as well and is something they continue to do.  It is a way for me and for them to help show our appreciation for others, especially those who are lonely.

I am grateful for the lesson that lonely Thanksgiving holidays in school taught me. Holidays and celebrations can be hard on those who are alone.  I know from experience how a small act of kindness can make a difference in someone else’s life and how good it feels to be remembered.  It can also make a big difference in your life and how you see the world.

So, what does gratitude have to do with leadership? When I read various articles about leadership, frequently, a key quality of leadership mindset, is an attitude of gratitude.  There is nothing like a manager who tells you that they appreciate the work you do. Similarly, having family or friends tell you that they appreciate you is special. It makes a difference. Good leaders take the time to appreciate what they have, and those around them regardless of their situation in life. Many give their time and money to build a better world.  

What we reflect to the world, is reflected back to us… 

What are you grateful for?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sometimes you need a cheerleader

Photo by Cheryl Edwards

Whether you are in the trenches, at the top of the organization, at home, or in the community, sometimes you need a cheerleader.

A cheerleader is:

  • An enthusiastic and vocal supporter of someone or something, to encourage you to reach your goal, win a point, lift your spirits when you are feeling down, and support you.
  • Someone who is going to help boost your confidence by reinforcing all the things that you’ve achieved and are good at. They may tell others about how awesome you are.

Why we need a cheerleader in our life 

In the last two years COVID has turned our lives upside down. We have isolated ourselves physically and mentally and it is taking its toll on us. Mental health issues, violence, abuse, losses, burnout and anger are real outcomes of this new normal. We need some cheering up to keep going. We need to see something positive to balance out the negative in our lives.

I used to participate in dragon boat racing. It was exciting and fun. It’s a team sport where the slightest wrong move will affect the entire boat and team. It’s a great sport because it requires mental and physical fitness to complete the race. There is nothing like the cheering and chanting of “go, go, go” or “We got this,” “Give a little bit more” and so on as we approach the finish line. When you have given all that you can give, the cheering you hear in the background gives you the little extra shot of adrenaline to help get you over the finish line. What a rush!

I have a few friends at work, both male and female, that have been my cheerleaders. It gives me a boost when I hear “that was an excellent point” or “I know you will do this really well.” I also have cheerleaders in my personal life that give me that boost, mainly my husband, my sister, and my cousin.

A cheerleader implies optimism and hope. Optimistic people see events as temporary and changeable. They will say for example, its not me, it’s going get better, I can do something about this. This optimistic mindset helps re-frame the situation to cope . It helps prevent against helplessness, depression, anxiety and giving up after failure because you feel like you have control over the situation. You can change what you can control.

Sometimes you might have to be your own cheerleader

All of us need cheerleaders, especially at critical points of life when we are really discouraged . If we have someone who can be our cheerleader great, but we can’t always count on someone to be there and be our cheerleader. We need to learn to be our own cheerleader.  Below are some tips on how to be your own cheerleader. However, if you are unable to cope, please get professional help.

Tips

Here’s how I cheer lead myself!

  1. Aside from the usual things like get sleep, exercise and have a good diet, I think about the times when I did something hard. I remember how it felt when I successfully completed it- my sense of pride and accomplishment.  Thinking about this reminds me that I am capable and I can do hard things.
  2. I also think about other times when I felt discouraged and how I was able to get past it. I remind myself that this is only a temporary situation and things will change. I think about what I did and what helped. I will give myself a pep talk.
  3. I give myself some grace and space to feel, grieve and let it go. I try not to set up camp at the discouragement site. 
  4. I clean or tidy when I feel stressed or discouraged. There is something about setting things in order that helps me feel in control of my life and gives me a renewed perspective.  I tidy or clean out my closet, utensil drawer, refrigerator, garage, etc. and it makes me feel like I am clearing out the clutter and bad things in my life. I always feel good afterwards and have a better outlook.

I was reminded about Marie Kondo when I wrote #4. Marie Kondo is a young woman who lives in Japan and has spent her life tidying and de-cluttering spaces. She has made a name for herself with her philosophy about tidying and de cluttering.  

Tidying is a powerful tool…the true goal of tidying is to clear away clutter so you can live the life you want. When you put your house in order… you have no choice but to listen to your inner voice-because the question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.  When you reassess your belongings and organize your home, you set the stage for a huge transformation. This is the magic of tidying. Keep only those things that speak to the heart and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service-then let them go.

People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy because of its effectiveness and that it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward looking.

You are not choosing what to discard, but rather, choosing to keep only the items that speak to your heart. Through tidying, you can reset your life and spend the rest of your life surrounded by the people and things your love the most. “

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Seasons of Relationships

I love the above sentiment because it reminds me that we have different seasons in our relationships much the same way as we have seasons in our life. Knowing the season of the relationship may help us understand and cope better when the relationship ends, but it doesn’t necessarily change the way we approach the relationship.

In my previous post, I talked about relationship capital and the importance of nurturing positive relationships  This is an extension of that post.

When I was younger, I felt that relationships, no matter what kind, should last. I hated when they ended, I felt like I failed somehow. Then I saw this poem and it helped me realize that relationships have different jobs. At work it helps to get things done, in my personal life it helps to build a sense of belonging, companionship and well being plus all the other nice things that come along with positive relationships. Positive relationships are good for our mental and physical health-a human connection is built into our DNA.  Enjoy the relationships you have for the time you have them.

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Relationship Capital and Influence

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on unsplash

What is it and how does it work?

I was listening to an interview, and the term relationship capital came up. It was explained as the opportunities that present themselves in the relationship without ulterior motives attached to the relationship, 

and,

It is the network that helps you navigate the corporate culture, understand your shortcomings, and pushes for your success. Ultimately these relationships lead to a goal of some kind, for example wealth, prosperity or success.

For me, relationship capital means building solid relationships that has led to big results. I have worked with my colleague friends on contentious issues and come out with great solutions that make the organization look good.

I remember going into an interview and being asked about how I managed stakeholders and built relationships.  I was floored, not because I couldn’t answer the question, but because someone was asking it. To me it seemed like something you learned when you were growing up-like how do you make friends and keep them? I mentioned simple things like speaking face to face, or by phone, developing personal connections and following up with them after meetings if they didn’t attend, etc. The interviewers found these strategies great, they nodded and seemed to get excited. I realized at that point that building and nurturing relationships was a skill, and maybe some people just don’t have it, or they have poor skills resulting in financial losses, damage to organizational image, or loss of trust.  The road to building good relationship capital requires consistency of effort and character over time.

All of this to say that building relationships and nurturing them in work and in your personal life is not intuitive or natural to some people. There are lots of courses to learn how to build good relationships to prove it.

Do’s and don’ts of building a relationship

Do’s

Stakeholders, clients, family, friends, require us to pay attention to the relationship. Building these relationships takes time and effort and if it is genuine then a strong bond can form. Relationships flourish when they:

  • Involve mutual reciprocity or a mutual willingness to help and support one another
  • Respect the time needed to build trust and the relationship
  • Value integrity

Don’ts

Mistakes that people make in building relationships:

  • Premature asks (asking before there is a relationship)
  • Poor or no follow up
  • Being a champion in a way that does not fit with the organization’s brand ​

What strategies help to build relationship capital?

  1. Build trust. People love this idea, but it comes with a catch-it requires action.For example, if you say you will follow up, do so, be accountable and reliable. Be honest and ethical and you will gain respect and build trust.
  2. Communicate. I believe that most problems that arise in relationships are because of miscommunication. Just the other day, I was speaking with a colleague friend, and we agreed to a plan of action. Somehow the message got mangled, and I got a call from her boss asking for more information. If he hadn’t called me, it would have resulted in a lot of unnecessary work with possibly incorrect information. Luckily, I have a great working relationship with both, and it was easily resolved. I can call on any of my colleague friends, because I have developed a relationship with them, and they will help me, and I will do the same for them. These relationships have paved the way for many successful initiatives.
  3. Set boundaries. Let people know what the goals are and what is at stake. Let them know what is and isn’t possible and the rest is negotiable
  4. Let others know if you suspect a problem is coming. Those in charge don’t like surprises about projects if they are accountable-it puts them in the hot seat. If you suspect something might become a huge issue, let others know about it, so that it can be addressed. This also builds up the trust bank, when they know that you are in control of the situation.

Building relationships out of difficult circumstances:

How does it work when clients are difficult or resistant to change? Meet stakeholders/clients who are resistant to change.  This is hard to do because it can feel unpleasant, time consuming, and messy to come to a satisfactory solution.  However, if it is managed well it can be really satisfying!

I have learned is to expect resistance and plan for it with any change. The following has worked for me when I have experienced resistance:

  • Clearly identify the problem, I am trying to solve.
  • Clearly state the goal.
  • Provide foundational information to ensure that everyone has the same basic understanding and context about why this is important.
  • Identify and get agreement on basic principles. These are the basis for how agreement on decisions can proceed. For example, a principle might be, “Safety is important.” When disagreement happens, go back to see how the suggestion aligns with the principles.
  • Identify negotiables and non negotiables to find common ground.
  • Listen to feedback and concerns. This provides valuable information on obstacles to implementing your plan.
  • Explain the decision. People will want to know what the decision is based on, and whether their feedback was considered. Not all feedback can be used, and it needs to be weighed carefully along with the overall goals, principles, etc.  Honest discussions that are respectful work best in this situation.
  • Have a respectful discussion, they should never be personal or aggressive. Rules of engagement may need to be used if discussions are contentious, heated or get out of control. Stop the discussion and remind people about appropriate behaviour and comments. If that doesn’t work, stop the discussion entirely and have it another time.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.

Developing good relationships is a lifelong process that will enrich your personal and professional life.  

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At the Crossroads

In my last blog I wrote about transitions. I’m still thinking about them and how hard they can be. They are the crossroads in our life.  They make us afraid because they represent the unknown.

We need to give ourselves some time and grace to process what we are going through. Then, maybe we can start to think of them as possibilities instead of dread or fear.

Sometimes we take the long road, but I believe we ultimately end up where we are meant to be. 

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Seasons of Transition

Photo by Patrick Hendry of Unsplash

Why Transitions?

Why this topic? This last year was full of transitions for me, and now we are entering a transition season-fall, and the beginning of the school year.

We may face one huge transition, smaller ones, or a bombardment of transitions, one after another.  

This last year I had transitions that included births, deaths, retirement, an engagement and impending wedding, manager changes in the workplace and health issues. Most of the time I managed the transition well by focusing on what to be grateful about. Some transitions are definitely easier than others.

The transitions I had the most trouble with were those that involved death and my impending retirement.  Why? Death of a family member was a hard transition to face because it forced me to come face to face with my mortality and loss. It isn’t something I typically think about, but when it hit me smack in the face, I had to face it.

Retirement, because it made me face my mortality again and reexamine who I was, and who I wanted to be, since my work self is changing. I never realized how closely my work self is tied to my personal self.

Death and retirement triggered a grieving process that I am still going through and coming to terms with. They made me confront my fears and my losses. These transitions are making me think about the legacy I want to leave behind. They are also nudging me to let go of the past and move forward.  All of this involves a whole lot of mindset management.

Successful Transitions

Curious about transitions, I looked to see if there is something new or different that I could share-there really isn’t. I investigated how people successfully dealt with their transitions. One thing that struck me when I was doing my research, was those who dealt most successfully with transitions had the following common characteristics:

  • Grit/Determination: They went through the transition with sheer grit. Some of these people lost homes, family, savings and lived on the bare minimum. They determined that they would get themselves out of the situation they were in and have a better life. They set a goal, changed their mindset, and then did the work to achieve the level of success that they have. Some examples are Mary Morrisey and Victor Frankl.
  • Vision and Goals: They had a big vision for themselves and their family. It was the vision that helped them move forward. They figured out how to overcome the obstacles in their way.
  • Serve others: They used their mess to become their message. They used their journey through their transition to help others in a similar situation.
  • Learned from failures and mistakes: They didn’t give up when they failed or made a mistake, they saw it as a learning opportunity.
  • Overcame fear: They overcame their fear by going through, rather than avoiding the change.

Takeaways

Transitions involve managing your mindset in the midst of change. People will look at how a leader handles transitions, because it is a refection of their character and resilience. True character emerges during these times and it is what people remember about how the transition was managed-for better or for worse- character wins.

Here are my favorite strategies for better transitioning:

  • Plan: If you can, plan for the transition. For example, I have been planning for my retirement. I want to work on this blog and make some changes to it. I want to start a podcast, write some books and do some speaking. I have skills I would like to use in another capacity, so these things keep me going. This transition is a bit scary to me, and I know I will find my rhythm.

Sometimes when you can’t plan ahead for a transition, you can reset your thinking.

  • Take care of yourself.  Do something for you. Take a walk, hug a pet, read a book, clear your mind, exercise, meditate, do something to remove the stress that has built up. 
  • Distract yourself and keep busy. It helps to focus on something else besides your trouble. Switching gears helps us to regain control over our life. Do something fun or creative, it will help create a sense of well being.. Do something for someone else.
  • Have a routine. It will help normalize things, give some structure to your life, and will help you to focus on other things.
  • Get Help: If the situation is unmanageable, seek out professional help.  Some things we can do for ourselves and for other things, we need to seek professional help to get us through.

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Mind your Mind

You’ve probably seen something like this floating around the internet.

I really like this visual because it is a reminder that our brain really is like a computer. We program and controlit by what we put into our head (thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs).

What comes out of us (our actions) is a result of what we put in (programing).

To get new results, we must, alter our programing.

Delete the negative junk we are putting in our head. Then rewire with new programming.

How to Achieve Mastery over Your Mind

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I love that we can change our mindset to change our lives. Because we can choose how to think and react, we can have so much control over how we want our lives to look like.  

For the longest time my mind was a hot mess!  I used to have a lot of anxious and fearful thoughts at one point in my life. I would fret about my health, my kids, my job, my husband’s job, our finances, friends, death, etc.  I would feel dread come over me for no reason at all. Sometimes the thoughts would come one at a time, and at other times they came all smushed together and I felt helpless against them.

It was a relief to discover that I could control my thinking, rewire my brain and remain in peace-game changer!  Once I got a hold of how, I got rid of the mess in my head. I also learned that mastery in this one area, could lead to mastery in other areas of my life. With the mess gone, I could focus more clearly, I could lead my life instead of being led by my thoughts and emotions. I love the fact that we can have so much power over our brain.

Mastery over your mind: Here’s how it works

Neuroplasticity

We can deliberately rewire our brains because of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the mind-body connection which allows for us to change our thoughts and behaviours.

Our brain works mostly on autopilot by creating highways (neural pathways) in our brains. When we focus on something with our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours we create these highways. Once the highway becomes well used it begins to function on autopilot. Autopilot allows us to conserve our mental energy and respond quickly to life experiences.

When we want to change something in our life, the superhighway we built in our brain may no longer serve us. We will need to build a new highway (new neural pathways) to serve our new beliefs and mindset.  

Example: Let’s say you want to be happier. You will have to create a new highway (neural pathway). It starts with a belief. You believe that its OK to be happy. You say to yourself that its OK to be happy. You start to feel the emotions of happiness, you start to act happy, you continue to experience happiness emotions and so on. You are happy.  What happened? This new way of thinking and being has made it easier to produce feelings of happiness. And you have built a new highway (neural pathway).

The more positive emotions you have, the more neurons you use to build your new highway. Emotions and feelings are very important in this process because they act as the glue to bind you to your experiences. This emotional energy is the fuel, behind your thoughts that give power to your memories, goals, hopes, and dreams. What you focus on grows. So, if you focus on happiness it grows. If you focus on stress it grows. If you focus on anger it grows. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens the circuitry in your brain (your neural pathways).   

These amazing abilities of our brain have so much potential and hope for dealing with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, for changing unhealthy habits, and for physical health.

Are you excited yet? Read these stories!

Case studies

Coaching for Success

Many sports figures have coaches to help their clients become successful at their sport. Golfers like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and others mentally prepare for their competitions by practicing their skills in their minds first. Not only do they visualize their success, but they engage all their senses to experience the competition.

Natan Sharansky, a computer specialist was accused of spying for the U.S. and spent nine years in a USSR prison.   While in prison he played against himself in mental chess. He would say “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion!” Remarkably, in 1996, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov!

Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, was involved in a study that compared results of those who did physical exercises to the results of those who carried out virtual workouts in their heads. In the physical exercise group, finger abduction strength increased by 53%. In the group that did “mental contractions”, their finger abduction strength increased by 35% and increased to (40%) 4 weeks after the training ended.

What do these stories have in common?

These stories show the importance of the mind-body connection by linking our thoughts and emotions to actions and behaviours. Our brains are powerful tools that produce the same mental instructions as physical actions. 

What the case studies above have in common is engaging as many of the five senses as possible in the visualization process. By doing this, the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization and building new neural pathways. Mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence, improve motor performance, and prime your brain for success. This practice is available to everyone, not just those in competitive fields.

These studies show that we can control what we put into our minds, and we do not have to think automatically, we can choose what we want to think about.

Takeaways

Rewire your brain

How do you shift your thinking? Notice-Shift-Rewire, Recognize, Refute and Rewire, or pick your own. What is important is to notice or recognize when you are beating up on yourself and stop it. Refute it or shift your thinking to something more positive. Then put in place your new message. It is simple, but not easy. It requires you to pay attention to the messages you are giving yourself and practice in rewiring your mind to the new more positive messages. It takes time and patience to build a new superhighway. Check out this video.

Practice visualization for success

Coaches encourage you to engage as many of the five senses as you can in the visualization of your goal. Who are you with? Which emotions are you feeling right now? What are you wearing? Is there a smell in the air? What do you hear? What is your environment?

Sit with a straight spine when you do this. Practice at night or in the morning (just before/after sleep). Eliminate any doubts, if they come to you. Repeat this practice often. Combine with meditation or an affirmation (e.g. “I am courageous; I am strong,” or to borrow from Ali, “I am the greatest!”).

Visualization is as powerful as the real thing since you are giving brain a new reality, and it is unable to tell the difference between something real or imagined.

Meditate

Meditation is a great stress reliever, and as noted above if the brain and body is stressed, new neural pathways can’t be formed.  It is known to reduce stress and cortisol and boost the immune system. Taking time to pause helps our brain to grow, improve our creativity, improve our mental flexibility and make neural pathway changes.

Don’t Quit

For some, when something is hard, uncomfortable, or scary, the tendency is to give up.  For others it is the kick that they need to keep going because they know that the breakthrough is coming. They double up on their efforts to train the quit out of themselves and keep going.

As we enter the 2021 Olympics, we will see athletic leadership in full display in the next few days as Olympic athletes embrace the Olympic motto and build their mindset for “faster, higher, stronger.”

And the Moral of the Story is Don’t Quit!

I love this story about why it is important to keep going. This excerpt is from Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich.”

Three Feet from Gold

One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.

An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the gold fever in the gold-rush days and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts.

Down went the drills!  Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle!  Then something happened!  The vein of gold ore disappeared!  They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again— all to no avail.

They decided to QUIT.

They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and took the train back home. The junk man called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darby’s had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found!

The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he stopped three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, by saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”

More than five hundred successful men told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.

Don’t quit, your breakthrough may just be three feet from gold.