Posts Tagged ‘failure’

Try Something New to Progress

We live in a time where the rate of change is increasing. That mean you must be willing to try something new to progress. Of course not everything will work. Yet, the possibility something will not work should not paralyze us from trying. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to Stop Planning

Action means it’s time to stop planning. You may be thinking, “But wait, I want to be sure the plan will work.” Well, how will you know? Read the rest of this entry »

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Outside the Box Thinker

You’ve undoubtedly heard a statement like, “She’s a real outside the box thinker”, right? The truth is everyone is in a box when it comes to their thinking. The question becomes one of how did that box get created and Read the rest of this entry »

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When Is It Time to Give Up?

The question of when is it time to give up is one that we are all faced with at some point. Perhaps the real question is what do we mean by giving up? In my last post How Do You Define Failure? I discussed the importance of persevering and not letting our failures stop us too soon. Each apparent failure can really be a learning experience and a vital step on the way to success. But, what do you do when it seems as if success is going to permanently elude you?

Take a Time Out

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a time out from what we are attempting. We need to be willing to allow ourselves the luxury of diverting our attention temporarily to something else that may even be unrelated. This is a little like the idea of sleeping on something for a few nights and just letting our mind subconsciously work on a problem. It is fairly common to suddenly have an answer pop into our head when we were not deliberately thinking about finding a solution. A temporary diversion is often one of the most productive things we can do. However, that diversion does not necessarily need to be play time or what seems like wasted time. We could move on to working on some other seemingly unrelated issues. Occasionally one of the other issues will prompt an answer to our original problem. So, while it may look like we have given up, what we are really doing is allowing our mind to work on its own.

Reframe the Problem

Perhaps we are so caught up in what we thought we were trying to accomplish that we miss the obvious. Consider the development of post-it notes at 3M. The scientist who developed the adhesive used on them was actually trying to develop a super strong adhesive. He continue to promote his adhesive for other possible uses, but it went unused for nearly six years until another individual had the idea to use the low-strength adhesive in the manner we now see with post-it notes. So, “when is it time to give up?” Well in this case it was not as soon as something did not work as hoped. Sometimes people just need to think and reframe the problem. With the development of this adhesive the solution came before the problem. All it took was someone to use their imagination to consider possibilities.

dreamer

Put It in the Idea Bank

How often do you have an idea and then just let it go without ever acting on it? If you don’t already do this, consider keeping a file where you record random ideas. Keep it handy and periodically review it. If you are working on an idea for which there seems to be no solution then the question of “when is it time to give up?” can become rhetorical if you put this issue aside by recording it in your idea file. Later something else you are working on may well jog your memory of the original idea filed away, while at the same time providing you with a solution.

Artists sometimes have several pictures they are working on. They may be struggling with one picture and divert their attention to it (kind of like taking a time out). Then when they return to it later they then see how to proceed and get the results they want. It is not unusual to occasionally let an idea for a painting sit for an extended time, almost like the idea bank concept. Later, after their mind has subconsciously worked on the idea they suddenly find they are ready to paint it. An author can do the same thing when writing a book. They may get stuck on where to go with a story line and take a diversion to another task. When they resume writing the story line has now developed in their mind.

So before you give up reframe the idea of what it means to give up. Yes, sometimes it may be that you never finalize something, but other times you will find that a temporary diversion helps or that an idea you put aside in your idea bank is now one that makes complete sense.

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How Do You Define Failure?

The question of how do you define failure is an important one. The way you think of failure strongly impacts the results you get. Consider this quote of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” In other words, Read the rest of this entry »

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Block Out Negative People

Don’t let negative people discourage you. Listen politely but know when to stop and turn a deaf ear to them. Some people either don’t believe you can do something or sometimes don’t even want you to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to Try Something Different

How often have you or someone you know tried something repeatedly only to see it fail each time? For most of us it is more than we care to admit. It’s amazing how often people act foolishly and fulfill the saying attributed to Albert Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, here is the question. If we know what we’ve been doing is not working and we know that it is insanity to keep doing the same thing, why do we? Read the rest of this entry »

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What Do You Need to Succeed?

When something seems as if it can’t be done, have you ever considered asking yourself the question, “What do you need to succeed?” In the blog Ask What Would Make the Impossible Possible I touched on this in regards to others saying something was impossible. However, often the “Doubting Thomas” that is stopping us from proceeding is ourselves. Remember the expression from Read the rest of this entry »

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Leave the Past Alone

Have you ever known someone who cannot get out of the past? Whether it is their failures or their successes, that’s where they live their life. In another posting, When Planning is a Roadblock, I talked about how people so often cannot move forward either because they cannot plan completely for the future or they cannot escape their past failures. Here I want to focus on getting beyond past failures in order to move forward. Essentially they have to learn to leave the past alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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When Planning is a Roadblock

We’ve all had the experience of planning something in detail, only to see it all go wrong. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks. This idea of things not going as planned is well expressed in the saying, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, which is an adaption of a line from the Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse. The sentiment of course is that we simply cannot know how things will turn out, not matter how carefully we may plan. That of course is no reason not to plan. But, when I said don’t let this stop you in your tracks I was referring to a different aspect of progress. Read the rest of this entry »

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