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Learn From


Moments of perceived failure are learning opportunities . . . they do not make you "a failure".

The next tab in this section has a TEDTalk video by Brené Brown where she jokes that TED should be called the "Failure Festival" because many of the greatest minds of our time simply refused to stop at more moments of failure than those people of whom we've never heard!

Here, today, we are going to practice seeing through and beyond our failures to a place of perspective.

There are two reasons to write down your failures. The first is that by putting pen to paper your heart and mind have to agree on a story. That task alone activates both sides of the brain in order to visualize the events so that the story can be constructed. Conveniently, fear and shame will likely prevent you from envisioning details from the very worst version of the moment because, as humans, we naturally move on from those moments.  The new visualization of the event will therefore be, more likely to be a nicer version than the last one.

The second reason to write down a list of failures all in one place is to see patterns. If, for example, you begin to see that many of your failures center around other people's perceptions of the moments, then you have identified a clear area of challenge going forward that is about learning to read and confirm other people's perceptions -- scary but possible! Alternatively, if many of them center around moments that seem to be spiraling worse and worse as time goes by then you have identified yet a different challenge -- one where framing the moments nearer the time of occurrence may assist in stabilizing your perspective as time goes by.

The goal here is to move your perception of failure out into a place where you can safely and calmly observe it, knowing that the collections of moments will offer greater perspective on daunting challenges going forward.

ASSIGNMENT: Click the PDF below to print. With a pen or pencil  fill in the table over the next few days. Because we tend to selectively forget uncomfortable moments, some percieved moments of failure may come and go from your consciousness in a flash.  It is helpful to keep this table with you at all times so that you can capture your thoughts as they come to you.

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