Friday, October 7, 2022

Mental Alchemy - Turn Failures into Successes

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
-Alvin Toffler


I tried growing vegetables, they died.  Now I'm done with gardening, I won't ever be able to grow anything.

As adults, we appear to have a resilience and learning problem.  I've started hearing different variations of that sentence above from countless people.   This is a ridiculous mindset to have and it really needs to change.

Think back to when you were a kid or look at your own kids.  When you were learning to walk, did you fall down once and never ever try again?  Nope, kids try over and over and over and over until they get it down - regardless of the injuries incurred along the way.  When you were in school, did you fail a test and completely give up on school?  Nope, your teacher (hopefully) kept pushing you to do better next time.  When you were learning different sports or musical instruments did you give up when you sucked at it on day one?  Nope, everyone sucks at everything the very first time they try something.  Hopefully a coach or mentor kept pushing you along to do better.  When you were just starting out in the workforce, did you freak out when it was totally different from what you thought it would be and realized your college education was almost useless?  Nope, you adapted, learned quickly and did what you needed to do to survive.  Resiliency and learning are the only reasons you've made it this far in life.

As we start adulting more and more, this horrendous thing seems to happen where we sssssslowly lose our resiliency and forget how to learn until one-day we have gotten so comfortable and complicit with our ordinary lives that we have lost all resilience and cannot learn anything new.  If you fall victim to this without realizing it then all hope is lost for you and you shall slowly slip deeper and deeper into the bowels of old age until you don't have the slightest idea what is going on anymore.  I have great news for you though, you can get out of this rut and reverse this mindset!

Here's How:

Step 1:  Realize you have fallen into this negative rut - You can't fix something if you don't realize it or refuse to believe it.

Step 2:  Accept that you have fallen into this rut - Accepting it is key, don't fight it.

Step 3: Make a pledge to yourself to fix it - Perhaps declare your pledge to a few friends or family members, which will make your mind feel more accountable to reach the desired results.

Step 4: Keep trying whatever it is you're trying to do, over and over and over and over - Build that resiliency back up.

Step 5: Learn from your mistakes - As you keep trying, analyze and learn from your mistakes.  Find ways to try your task differently, keep trying over and over then repeat.  Failure is good!  That is how you learn.

Step 6: Log your progress - As you trot down your learning journey, write down your experiences each day (or whenever you try your task).

Step 7: Reflect - When you feel like you haven't made any progress at all (which will happen) go back through and read these logged experiences and you'll realize the small gains that have actually been made, over time.  Even if it currently feels like you haven't made any progress at all, you will suddenly realize you have in-fact made progress and will be encouraged to keep moving forward!

Step 8: Try again and again and again and again and again - You cannot learn if you are not resilient and you cannot be resilient if you don't try then fail then try again and again and again...

Step 9:  Enjoy the learning journey!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's much more enjoyable as an adult, trust me.  Instead of looking at learning as a chore, look at it as an opportunity to expand your knowledge.

Step 10: Visualize the end result that you want to achieve.

Watermelons have been the bane of my existence for the last 7 years.  Each year I excitedly plant the seeds in the dirt, water them, then check each day for growth and progress; at the end of each and every year... nada... no watermelons at all.  This has been very disappointing because watermelons are freaking delicious, especially on a hot summers day.  The plants themselves have always grown great but I have never successfully gotten any fruit.  Until this year that is.

Over the most recent winter I was pondering this repeated defeat and I put my foot down, "I'm getting some damn melons this year!" I shouted to the heavens from my basement.  The more I thought about this 6 year failure I slowly realized there was one thing left that I hadn't tried.  I always plant the melon seeds outside after the first frost but I had yet to try starting the seeds inside, like I do with so many of my plants.  Why the hell have I not tried starting these inside??

Once spring rolled around, I planted the seeds inside, along with my other seedlings and watched them grow.  Once the last frost was past, I moved the seedlings outside and treated them the exact same way I had for the past 6 years.  Guess what happened???

I got sssssoooo many freaking melons this year!!!  Not just watermelon but all of the different types of melons I planted all got fruit on them, ALL OF THEM!

It took me 7 years to figure that out on my own.  I'm convinced that farming is the toughest job in the world and the hardest to learn.  You only get one shot a year, that's it.  If you fail at something you have to wait until next year to try again.  It's a very slow, long and arduous learning process.

I would have never turned my 6 year watermelon failure into a slamming success if I just threw my hands into the air and gave up after the 1st year.  Come to think of it, I would never have reached the point I'm currently at where I'm growing more than enough food to last year round, if I wasn't willing to learn.  You have to be resilient, you have to learn from your mistakes and turn your failures into successes.  You keep taking one step after the other, day after day after day, and you keep going.

This is applicable to all aspects of life whether that be school, sports, music, careers, hobbies, etc. this is the recipe for success for literally everything you try in life.  If you give up, you will never succeed at anything.  If you are resilient and you keep going then you will be successful.  It may take a while, but you will get there.  You are only limited by the limitations you impose on yourself in your mind, if you remove those limitations and believe, truly believe that is possible, then it can be achieved.

If you don't believe me, just look to nature and you'll see the exact same truth staring you right in the face.  Our planet has been around for about 4 billion years and it keeps going year after year, no matter the challenge and look at everything it has achieved!  We are nothing more than specs of dust traveling thru space on a rock and yet somehow the earth is what is today and we have the civilization we have become, all of which sprung from basically nothing.  Each species that is alive today is only around because it has kept going day after day, no matter the hardships encountered.  Nature is resilient, so you need to be too.  Survival of the fittest is what Darwin would say.  Physical fitness is important but mental fitness is vastly more important in our current world.

If you strive to constantly improve your mental fitness, be resilient and always learn then you can achieve anything your mind dreams up!  Just keep dreaming and going!  You got this!

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