When something doesn’t work, it haunts me. I know this isn’t good. I can’t let failed attempts at things get to me. I should be better at just shaking it off and moving on. I’m trying, but I’m not 100% there yet.
Does this happen to you too? When something you’ve tried doesn’t work and it makes you feel kind of stupid so you try to get it out of your head but every time it’s quiet, that’s what you think about?
This doesn’t happen to every time I try something new and it doesn’t work. Like recently I tried to do a Facebook Live. It was a disaster; my connection kept dropping and one single person was watching me. I felt like a doofus for about an hour; some embarrassment and a very small chip at my confidence. But then I connected with my “crew”, and they reminded me that in the grand scheme, that flopped attempt at a Facebook Live meant nothing.
Side note: I highly recommend having a crew, by the way.
Other times, though, my failures have burrowed into my brain for days or weeks or sometimes even months, popping up when I’m at my most vulnerable and doing their best to make me feel like a total fraud.
This feeling, this tendency to go straight to the “I fucked up” mentality, is something I’m really trying to figure out. Why do our unsuccessful attempts at trying new things seem to impact our confidence so much?
Why do we tend to immediately feel foolish when something doesn’t work?
Why do we let this impact our ability to keep trying?
OK, no one likes to feel stupid, I get that. What I don’t get is why we feel stupid at all.
When I think about all the things I’ve tried to do over that last 15 years, I see a lot of failures and a lot of successes. That’s natural. And in looking back, I can’t think of one thing I was unsuccessful at that still haunts me to this day. I think that’s because I’m looking at the bigger picture.
I’m seeing a decade and half as one journey to a destination that I’m currently living. And this living that I’m doing right now is awesome. So what I see when looking back is a collection of events and occurrences that have gotten me to this place.
BUT, when we’re in it, when we’re experiencing the failure in the moment, it’s practically impossible to see that what just happened is simply a part of the journey.
I’m going to continue to explore this topic (I’m currently reading a book about the genetic implications of confidence) but for now I think the only thing we can do is focus on the successes. Every time something doesn’t work, go grab a piece of paper and write down everything that did work that day or that week. Read it over and over until you are reminded about all the great things you’ve already accomplished and excited about all the great things you have yet to do.
Lots of love and encouragement,