I couldn’t find my grip.
I floundered around trying so many different things. HR, advertising, writing, business, furniture...none of them related except they were all classified under the "stupid choices I made" sub directory in my mind.
And I failed so much.
I failed so many times at so many well meaning projects. And each time I thought, “This is the one. This time it’s going to fly and everything will fall into place.”
And then it didn’t. Again.
So I’d slink away for a few more months licking my wounds and wondering “Why me?”
The truth is, it was nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the way I was looking at my goals and failures.
And then there was the trigger event that changed everything. The one event that changed the course of my life after which I could no longer afford to fail. Where failure was no longer an option.
(It's astonishing what you can achieve once you take failure off the table.)
But this article isn’t about that.
It’s actually about the biggest lesson I learned in that whole process that helped me flip the switch and start winning instead of failing.
right in front of our face
You know, we can spend our entire lives with the answer right in front of our faces, and yet not see it for the world of dreams that keeps our head stuck in the clouds.
Goals and failures are two prime examples. Here we have taken 2 regular words and spent our entire lives associating them with certain definitions. And by doing that, we completely disregarded the clues (literally in our face) that had the power to shift how we viewed these 2 different, and yet interconnected ideas.
I know the skeptics out there are thinking: "How exactly could we miss the meaning of those 2 words ?"(especially online where they’re thrown around like confetti at a toddler birthday party.)
But let me walk you through it. It’s a lesson in self awareness of how we’ve taught our brain to think.
We've come to define goals as “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”
The word “desired” that we use in that definition, is defined as “strongly wish for or want.”
And what have we used since childhood to associate with the word “wish”? We’ve associated it with the word “star.”
Now when I type out all this sh*t, it sounds drawn out and convoluted, but in reality this pattern of association happens in less than a second in our brains. And here's the kicker: it's this association that is the biggest reasons why so many of us have difficulty hitting our goals.
It's because of this tiny word association (goals - desire - wish - star), that goes on in our head that keeps us imagining our goals as something way above us. In the clouds just beyond our reach. And this vision has successfully kept our goals just out of our grasp.
This word association (goals - desire - wish - star), puts our goals above us - in the clouds just beyond our reach. @IdeasWithRaisa
If you close your eyes and try an visualize your goals that you’re not hitting, it always seems like you’re reaching for them and they’re just out grasp of your fingers. That mental image wasn’t by accident. We planted it there. And consequently we fulfill it on a regular basis. This is in part how our brain making sense of the world around us as well as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So by now you must be thinking:
“Motherfu… twinkle twinkle little effin star is the reason I’m not getting where I want to…”
(Aside: Not quite, but I share the sentiment. I have to sing that flippin’ song every night until my daughter goes to bed. I have 3 kids...did I ever tell you that?)
You see, the reason we’re not achieving our goals is because we’re going about it all wrong visually. To put it bluntly, we’ve gone about creating goals in a completely incorrect way.
And let me get clear on one thing, I’m not talking about SMART, BHAG, or KISS methods, although they're all wrong too if you’re looking at it from a neuroscientific perspective. (But I’ll get into that in another article).
We’re setting goals incorrectly because we’re doing it using our conscious mind. By thinking out the process from start to finish.
You: WTF Raisa?? Are you gonna tell me not to think??
Me: Patience padawan. I would like to be able to talk in a backwards convoluted and yet surprisingly simple Yoda-esque way, but I can’t. Deal with it.
You need to understand one simple thing: you need to feel your way through life, not think your way through it.
I know it sounds wishy washy and totally not what you signed up for, but bear with me for a moment while I explain the science behind this.
Our conscious mind, the one we use for 90% of our daily decision making, is actually not meant to follow orders from our ego. (Which is where we end up feeding it orders from).
Our conscious mind was designed to follow orders from our subconscious mind. And although we haven’t all succeeded in connecting with our subconscious mind, we can gain significant insights into what messages it’s sending if we pay attention to the feelings we get.
Let me show you what I mean by turning our attention back to goals.
If we set goals with our conscious mind, we’re using cues that have been planted in us by our parents, friends, society, our ego etc. We define goals as something that is achieved by people who succeed. And by consequence, if we don’t achieve our goals, it means we've failed.
We’re a failure.
But here’s the really interesting thing.
We’ve made success and failure as opposites when in reality they are both partnering puzzle pieces that move us along the same path towards our goals. Only, we don’t see this if we’re operating with the references created by our conscious mind (ie: failure and success pull you in opposite directions on the way to your goals that are in the sky just beyond our reach).
You see, a true goal one that is generated from the depths of our subconscious. This is why many times you’ve been told to set goals based on your values. These goals inspire us, brings us closer to the life we want to live and essentially ground us. They make us feel more connected to our life.
Seeing goals as anchoring us to the ground is the subconscious way of viewing goals.
Not up in the sky, but firmly on the ground. And this is the way we are supposed to view goals.
And how do we know this is the right way to view goals? Not because I said so, although I would love it to be that way, because think how much freakin’ simpler would my life be then. This is the right way to view goals, because it makes sense with relation to how we subconsciously view failure: as going down.
So this visual we have in our mind of failure as moving downwards, is actually a good thing. It is showing us that failing is actually bringing us down closer towards our true goal that grounds us.
So in reality, a failure is not a set back (like we would think if we assumed our goals were in the sky..."reach for the stars").
So why is any of this important? Does it really make a huge difference how we view these words visually?
Simple answer: yes.
Because it’s not just the goal that matters, but the quality of life that we experience on our way to achieving our goals that matters a lot as well.
The goal as well as the quality of life that we experience on our way to achieving our goal are both important. @IdeasWithRaisa
If we’re smart enough to follow the path that our subconscious guides us on towards our goals, we would see that failure is represented in a positive way that progressively takes us closer to our goals, not further away from them. This way, we can (believe it or not) actually enjoy the whole process failing on the way to achieving our goals without feeling like we’ve been “setback. (Because it is inevitable that we will experience failure at some point on the way to our goals).
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