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How To Stay Driven After Failing

“I Failed at getting published for almost six years. So for almost six years, every single day I had nothing but rejection letters waiting for me in my mailbox. And it was devastating every single time and every single time I had to ask myself if I should just quit while I was behind and give up and spare myself this pain. But then I would find my resolve in always in the same way, by saying, I’m not going to quit, I’m going home. You have to understand that for me going home did not mean returning to my family’s farm, for me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home. Because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing. Which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego. Which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself”

Elizabeth Gilbert, the amazing writer of the memoir, “Eat Pray Love”, has took to the NYC TED Talks to discuss her experience with writing another amazing book after the success of her New York Times Best Seller. In this talk, Elizabeth describes her past emotions for failing based off of the value we give both success and failure and how she overcame it as a creative writer. Saying, “I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book regardless of it’s inevitable negative outcome. In other words, I had to find a way to make sure that my creativity survived its own success.”

I think this short talk comes right on time for many ambitious people who are afraid to fail. Often times we stifle our motivation because although we dream big, we second guess things. Although we want to be successful and do what we love, we are afraid that the cost is so high that we will not succeed how we want. Our fear and insecurities  break us down, hindering our capabilities, and lessening our drive to succeed. So before you click play, let’s discuss some ways to fail forward.

Life Is About Experience: What is experience? What is wisdom? We naturally fail, almost daily, throughout our years of living. Our biggest well learned lessons come from the bad decisions we make. Every year we make plenty of mistakes. Although it doesn’t feel great, we learn from them, gain experience, and grow. The ability to grow and gain wisdom is a beautiful feeling. Once you can accept that living is learning and that failing is normal, then you can gracefully enjoy creating a plan to take each step towards your goal.

The Company You Keep: The people we keep around us play an integral part on the way we think. These people are our motivators. Those we commune and stay active with are the people we connect and relate to. If you want to be inspired and stay motivated you must be around people who aren’t afraid of pursuing their own goals. Not to say everyone is constantly inspired, because we are human. We all go through bouts of feeling defeat. What I am suggesting is that we should be around people who have no interest in staying defeated. This is what friendship and mentorship is all about.

Self Reflection: Time alone is very important. It is very easy to be distracted as we can distract ourselves purposefully in order to remove distress. No noise, no distractions, just you with your thoughts and a pen and paper is a good step towards regaining inner strength and inspiration. Time alone helps aid in creative thought. It aids in collecting oneself to think clearly. Metaphorically speaking, it is similar to a mobile or cordless phone. In order for it to continue working, we must put it down and recharge.

Work Towards Your Goal Once A Day: Whatever your goal may be, do something each day to aide in its productivity. It can be as small as researching what the next step will be to help bring your idea to fruition, or as paramount as inquiring assistance and moving forward with the first step of execution. Remind yourself that you can succeed through failure and that the only way to succeed is by making mistakes. Virtually every successful thing we experience today stems from trial and error.

Remind Yourself Daily: Create a small journal of the steps you took each day or each week to obtain your goal. This can even be a “To Do List”. Reading articles that relate to your goals is another thing we can do to help motivate ourselves. We must stay positive while envisioning ourselves succeeding as well as failing in the process to succeed.

Take a look at the lecture Elizabeth Gilbert gave on her experience of being afraid of failure and pushing through it.

And Remember, When Life Gives You Lemons…