We plan, we promise, and we begin. We do this again and again. We aim for the moon and end up mid-air. Why do we fail? The way I see it, failure is rarely because of a lack of resources or opportunities. It’s more because of spiritual or psychological reasons, or simply because it’s not meant to be. Most often, we shirk from discussing failure, but it is crucial not only to give it thought but to talk about it and offer insights as well as to consult on how to not face it again.
There are many reasons we fail, and all cannot be listed since many stem from personal lives too. But here we identify just a few of them, and in our next post, we shall discuss how to deal with them.
One thing that comes to mind when one starts thinking about it is that we often fail because as we near the finish line, we fantasize about our success; we relax, and eventually, lose sight of purpose and plan. And when we lose the initial purpose for which we started in the first place, the flame goes out, we slow down, and then fail or achieve lesser than expected. Psychology proves this phenomenon in this research by Oettingen and Mayer where they studied the effects of expectations versus fantasy on performance:
“Positive expectations (judging the desired future as likely) predicted high effort and successful performance, but the reverse was true for positive fantasies (experiencing one’s thoughts and mental images about the desired future positively).”
Psychology now believes that one must spend less time fantasizing about how a project is going to turn out, and even discussing plans for it. Talking about plans gives the mind a satisfactory illusion, which relieves a person of all sense of urgency, which is a bad thing more often than not.
Then, of course, there’s a lack of belief or the weakness of it. We make a plan and believe it possible, but with doubtful hopes. The doubt slowly kills the belief, and even if we go on trying, this affects our efforts. It stops us from taking leaps that could actually benefit our purpose more than anything else. It stops us from doing our best. The body behaves as the mind believes, and if the mind doubts the possibility of success, one is bound for failure. It has been found in studies that we can actually deceive ourselves into performing better, by assuring ourselves we can do whatever we’re planning to, and we can succeed at it.
There are several other factors that contribute to failure. Lack of self-discipline, pessimism, and procrastination is often the causes too. No matter how brilliant our plan is, if executed with poor discipline, it is bound to fail. The discipline of the personality is of utmost importance when it comes to success, whether it is worldly success or eternal. Pessimism and procrastination are stepping-stones to failure. We step on one; the other is bound to follow. Together they contaminate our energy and take us all the way to failure.
Whatever the causes of failure, we all know it is not a bad thing. It paves the way for success; it teaches us what we needed to be taught before we succeeded. It gives us a chance to improve ourselves, and make ourselves stronger. But often, we begin to feel very disappointed after we fail at something and that is only natural. We just need to tell ourselves to get up and try again. It’ll be better this time. Even if we fail again, it’ll be a better failure than the last one.
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