Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Success or Failure?

"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."
-Michael Jordan

I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.  
~Thomas Edison 

There is no failure except in no longer trying.  ~Elbert Hubbard

Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet.  
~Robert Schuller

First of all, thank you to all my readers. My little blog has now passed 1,000 views, and half of these have come in the last 4 weeks:) Also, if you've been a reader for very long, you know my love of quotes. I think quotes are something that stick out to us, and can be remembered in moments where we won't remember other things. 

One thing that I struggle with as a counselor is helping people to change their definitions of success and failure. Remember the discussion on cognitive distortions and specifically black and white (all or nothing) thinking? I find that people are often very "all or nothing" when it comes to their definitions of success or failure. Either they have practiced or maintained something perfectly (i.e. work out 3 times in the last week, eat only one dessert a day, or even working on changing distortions) or they have failed. But when there is progress, when there is something that has been learned, that isn't failure. Failure occurs when we stop trying, not when we "messed up" once or twice. This thinking will not only hinder the progress that you are trying to make, but generally lead you to label yourself as a "failure". When we don't have accurate or rational views of success and failure, we will often be a failure much more then a success. 
What You Can Do:
1. Challenge your current thinking on success and failure. Is it all or nothing?
2. Re-write your definitions of success and failure
3. Take the label of a "failure" off yourself
4. Identify the progress you've made in a week and label yourself as successful! 

Question: When are you likely to label yourself a failure? What are you afraid to try because of the fear of failure? 


  1. Failing is my biggest fear - but I can deal with little failures because I can see my end goals (career, education, and fitness-wise). I try to keep the big picture in perspective, and that helps me to pick myself up after little failures and keep going.

  2. Gah! Did you write that "all or nothing" part about me? I swear!

    My husband is always talking to me about how harmful that kind of thinking is. I realize that failure is only possible when you quit, but it's really good to be reminded of it.

    Congrats on meeting a bloggity milestone! :)

  3. "Failure occurs when we stop trying, not when we "messed up" once or twice."

    Right on!