How would you be living your life today if you hadn’t been able to speak until you were almost four years old and your teachers said you “would never amount to much”? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to Albert Einstein, who went on to become one of the most influential scientists of all time.
How would you be living your life today if your life was totally about basketball and you had been cut from your high school basketball team? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to Michael Jordon, who went on to become one of the best basketball players ever.
How would you be living your life today if you had been fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination and “having no original ideas”? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to Walt Disney, who went on to create a successful movie studio that developed many innovative cartoons and cartoon characters.
How would you be living your life today if at the age of 30 you had been fired from the company you had founded and devoted your entire adult life to? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to Steve Jobs, who went on to revolutionize life as we knew it by leading one of the most imaginative and successful companies in history.
How would you be living your life today if you had been demoted from your job as a news anchor because you were “not fit for television”? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to Oprah Winfrey, who went on to become the most successful daytime host ever and one of the most recognized and inspirational figures in the world due to her television show.
How would you be living your life today if you had a band that had been rejected by Decca Records who said “we don’t like their sound, they have no future in show business”? … Please take a moment and answer this question right now. You will learn something very important. …
It happened to the Beatles, which went on to revolutionize music and become one of the most successful bands in musical history.
How would these situations have affected you?
How did you answer these questions? Unfortunately, far too many people would answer that the disappointment led to a sense of victimization and a decision (perhaps unconscious) to not put themselves in a position where they could be disappointed again. Many if not most people would have quit.
Clients call us every day telling us how incidents like these led them to conclude: I’ll never get what I want. I’m inadequate. Life is difficult. If I allow myself to really want things, I’ll be disappointed and get hurt. I’m not good enough.
And when people form beliefs like these, they either quit trying or, at best, they approach their goals with only a half-hearted commitment.
There is no such thing as a “failure”
The reason for telling you these “failure” stories is to remind you that not getting what you want at one point in your life does not mean you will never succeed. Each of these people ultimately became major successes in their respective fields. Their early “failures” did not stop them because they held these events as learning opportunities, not failures. (Thanks to Dr. Fab Mancini for reminding me of these stories.)
If you had major disappointments early in your life and you’ve stopped doing all you could possibly do to get what you want today, here’s what to do—right now.
Here’s what to do
First, identify and eliminate any beliefs you formed in response to the events. The beliefs I listed above are typical beliefs one might form in response to a major disappointment.
Second, recognize that no matter what happened, it does not mean you “failed.” Failure is meaning you add to an event. In the case of the six stories I told, none of the people ultimately experienced their setback as a failure. They held the “disappointment” as something they could learn from to make them successful in the future.
Third, if you give negative meaning to events in your present life, notice you are doing that and make a clear distinction between what is actually happening (for example, things aren’t turning out the way you would like them to) and the meaning you are giving the event (for example, you’ll never succeed or you don’t have the ability to ever succeed). What you make a clear distinction between the event and the meaning, the meaning will dissolve and all you will be left with is a meaningless event that is not capable of producing a negative feeling.
Fourth, stop allowing your beliefs and daily meanings to sabotage your life. It is possible for you to rid yourself of your self-imposed limitations (your beliefs and meanings) and to create unimagined new possibilities for your life. Start today.
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Copyright © 2013 Morty Lefkoe