My friend messaged me recently and said, "Ian, why is it that the younger kids coming up today do not like to give their all playing sports like we did?" I had some dots connect in my mind about this, and I realized that it has everything to do with CONTROL and FEAR.
When someone texts, emails or DMs you, they give you the power. We can sit there and think about what to say, we can not respond, we can do whatever we want, but an immediate answer is easy to escape. That's one reason digital communication is not the same as being on the phone or talking face to face.
We can post a picture on social media, and if it does not get the likes we want, we can take it down, we can add filters to images instantly, we can keep taking pictures until it is just right. It gives us a sense of control over the outcome.
When he asked me this question, it reminded me of the purpose of learning to lose. I remember when I was a little kid and we would lose football games 53-0 and my body would be in so much pain after. Do you remember this type of experience?
There was NO control
There was NO reset button
There was NO hiding
IT EXPOSES YOU!
Sometimes that is how life feels, right? It seems like everyone else is scoring and you can't even find the end zone. How can you work so hard to get embarrassed and beaten down in this manner?
We have to keep teaching ourselves how to deal with losing.
How to be disappointed that it didn't work out how we expected.
How to get punched and walk forward regardless.
Losing is real life!
Think about it. What percentage of the time do things work out just like you thought they would? Everything working out to plan almost never happens, but it does not mean we can't be happy with the results. You don't have to get used to losing, but you need to be able to handle it.
Otherwise, you grow up sheltered and thinking that you will get every job that you apply for. You think that every boss you have will like you or that rainbows always show up after it rains. The truth hits you hard, and you don't know how to take it. When I teach students how to reach their full potential, I can tell which ones have what it takes simply by how they handle their first setback. You have to buckle down and really give yourself no option but to figure it out.
Sometimes it is easier not to try because you feel like you're going to fail. You feel like your going to lose, but this is what life is about. Those failures, those bumps in the road, THEY MAKE US! To have so much talent and use none of it because of a fear of it not working out is something we will continue to see. We should not encourage our youth just to win, but we should help them when they lose and help them learn how to get back up.
We don't need to have control of the outcome. What we need is to be willing to give our all and see who we can become in the process. In the course of giving your all your turn into someone, you never thought you could be. You grow and learn that there is nothing that can stop you.
The only way to be REAL is to accept that you're going to lose a lot and as a result, you're going to be stronger. There is a really good reason that I wrote a book about how to Endure. The ability to get punched in the mouth and keep going is one of the most important for success.
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When you make it your priority to learn something new, all of your attempts to succeed at anything become experiments. Your aspiration is to learn more so you can move closer to your aim, rather than insisting that you hit the bull’s eye right off the bat. Do this and something interesting happens -- you begin hitting what you’re aiming for more quickly.
When you substitute the word "failure" for "experiment," with your aim to learn something new, your fear of failure weakens, and your love of experimenting increases. When you replace the words, “I failed” with the words, “I experimented,” you take on the role of experimenter, and you take the sting out of failure. Now, everything you do becomes an experimental stepping stone, moving you closer to success.
It’s a given that the more we experiment with things in our lives, the more we succeed in life. Doesn’t it logically follow that we should increase our experiment rate if we want to increase our success rate? The secret is to aim to learn a new lesson with every experiment. That’s what scientists in a laboratory do. When failed attempts to succeed are seen as experiments, it puts the attempts on the same side as success: Experiment/success. But, when you see your attempts as failures, you place the attempt on the opposite side of success: success-failure. Now it feels lousy.
If you make it one of your life-roles to be an experimenter, then curiosity becomes a valuable quality. Curiosity drives experimenters to experiment. And curiosity is a mental muscle that can be strengthened with each experiment. That’s because with each experiment you become more curious about how to get it right. Anytime you fail to experiment, your curiosity level drops. When you stop experimenting, you stop being curious and you stop growing -- you stop winning.
You are an experimenter and the world is your laboratory. Celebrate the fact that you are so fortunate to have the world as your lab. Be deliberate with your experiments, and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Soon you’ll be celebrating victory after victory after victory.
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