Fail has a deep negative biological effect on our well-being and level of self-confidence. However, once we learn how to turn a fail into a motivator, the story takes a surprising twist.
A positive change occurs after we start detaching from the limiting dogma of the “responsible adult” – something we’ve all been indoctrinated into.
It’s a set of imposed moral and societal expectations that, instead of creating a successful and efficient male killing machine, create a concrete roadblock and prevent success.
In time, the term “fail” transforms into a devastating factor with serious psychological consequences.
There are two chemicals (neurotransmitters) produced by your brain that determine the level of success and the overall satisfaction with the life in general.
Those are dopamine and serotonin.
When deprived of each or both, you become depressed.
Logical premise is simple: you need to keep both very active.
Those with the lack of discipline and determination, “cheat” the system by injecting different substances (drugs) that stimulate the brain to release these two hormones. It’s not the drug that makes them high. Their own brain chemicals do the job. The drug is here only as a stimulus.
In normal circumstances, two sociological principles determine the activity of these two chemicals:
- The level of your personal satisfaction in every given moment of your existence
- The level of satisfaction with you and your deeds (expressions) expressed by your social environment
In other words, for dopamine to kick in, you need to feel like you’ve accomplished something. It can be as small as crossing something off your to-do list. When you cross it, you’ll feel the dopamine effect – you’ll feel good about yourself.
And for serotonin to get really active, you must feel the acceptance from the others. Your expressions must meet the approval and cheer. When that happens, both you and your social environment feel the serotonin effect. It can be an applause after the speech or “Hey, you did a fine work there, man.”
In both instances, your social circle got impressed with something you said or did. As a result, you instantly feel the overwhelming effect of serotonin.
Fail, however, has the opposite effect.
It inhibits the activation of both of these crucial chemicals, triggering the state of acute depression.
So, when you think about it, [clickToTweet tweet=”The secret of success lies in the ability of the individual to block the negative impact of the fail and converge WANT and MUST.” quote=”the secret of success lies in the ability of the individual to block the negative impact of the fail and converge WANT and MUST.”]
It can only be done if you perceive the fail as a learning tool – something you used to do from the moment you opened your eyes for the first time and saw the ugly face of the doctor who pulled you out from your mother’s belly.
A few months later, you took the first step and then dropped down on your ass. But it didn’t prevent you from trying again, and again, and again, until you eventually managed to walk from the table all the way to the TV just to kick the screen with the remote.
It was a gigantic success for such a small being. The very first independent steps you took on the surface of this planet.
And the only thing that made possible for you to walk that distance without any help was the total ignorance of the failed attempts.
In those early days of your existence, brain didn’t perceive the fail as a negative outcome. [clickToTweet tweet=”When you were a toddler, dropping down on your butt only served as the lesson of how not to do it. Why did you change that principle of life?” quote=”Dropping down on your butt only served as the lesson of how not to do it.”]
It only started to act as the depression trigger after you started socializing with the others.
You couldn’t avoid this either because that’s how we are wired as a species.
For some, this is a serious obstacle. For the others, it’s the most powerful motivator.
Their secret is found in their ability to re-embrace the times when they were curious kids. The kids who climb trees and enter dark caves full of bats to test their courage. The kids who answer challenges even if it means exposure to some less comfortable situations. The kids who never run away from a fist fight, no matter how painful it may end for them.
And this is how they do it, now, when they are “responsible adults”:
It all has to start somewhere and somehow and it will take several fails before I get it right
Have you ever played the piano? Even if you did, the chances are that you are not exactly virtuoso. Why? Because you haven’t been trying hard enough.
A complex neuronal network inside our brains that allows mastering of virtually everything and taking it to the perfection.
The whole deal is in adding additional neuronal connections between two cerebral hemispheres. It’s the brutally effective bio-mechanism that allows every human being to master any skill, no matter how complicated it may appear.
And it’s done with the first inexperienced step when those piano strokes are still raw and don’t sound like a music at all.
But with every following lesson, you are becoming better. It happens because every time your brain picks up the signal that you did it right, it adds one more neuronal connection – it creates an operational memory string that you can recall in a nanosecond while executing some operation.
In time, enough of these neuronal connections are built and you start sounding more like Maksim Mrvica and less like the elephant on drugs.
It’s just about accepting the fact that when you are dealing with something new, you are burdened with the fear of the unknown in one hand and the total lack of experience in the other.
Fail is almost inevitable. It’s the only way to learn something new and those successful are perfectly aware of that. For them, the fail inevitably leads to success on account of the famous trial and error learning method.
But they are also aware of the following:
Yes, I’m planning my moves, but not on the philosophical level.
There are two types of people in this world: astronomers and astronauts.
The first group is made of people who think shit through to every last detail. They will exhaust every option before making the final conclusion. And it can take years for the process to finally end.
The second group is made of those who don’t refrain from occasional challenge and improvisation. They don’t waste much time on planning because they understand how, in most of the cases, the practice has nothing to do with the theory. There’s always something that can go wrong and hasn’t been properly explained in the books and tutorials just because it didn’t happen before.
Hence, you want a healthy level of both!
But to be able to eventually climb on the top of that pointy tube, filled with tons of highly explosive fuel and made of millions of pieces assembled by the lowest bidder, one has to level with himself:
OK, I’m good at this, but then again, I suck at that other thing and thus, I need to improve.
In other words, [clickToTweet tweet=”An objective self-reflection is the essential method of self-assessment necessary to recognize own strengths and weaknesses.” quote=”an objective self-reflection is the essential method of self-assessment necessary to recognize own strengths and weaknesses.”]
Let’s say that you stumble upon a very persuasive sales pitch about all the wonderful possibilities of Forex trading. There are literally thousands of them, all over the internet, because retail Forex trading allows fast money and extremely high ROI.
However, one can lose more than he owns if he is not honest about the own capabilities and knowledge.
If he is honest, he will know that there are things to learn before betting on whether that particular base currency will go up or down in a given time period.
Again, he is perfectly aware that even the best education in the world and years of experience will result in repeated fails. In his mind, those fails are caused by the ever-changing environment and only serve as the learning curve. Smart risk management will enable him to keep making money in a steady upward trend.
But there will be those who will say how it’s impossible to succeed in something like that. They will try to persuade him how it’s all just one big illusion and a cleverly developed scheme.
In fact, everybody around him will try their best to scare him off. They will use phrases and terms they don’t even understand just to prevent him to rise above them.
However, He will not fall for any of that crap because:
Everything is possible
In 60’s, we managed to send the team of three men to the Moon. Since then, humanity saw true Sci-Fi advances. Things, so complex that we only dared to dream about them in movies and TV shows such as Star Trek.
Now, you can walk the streets of New York and have a nice video chat with someone in Singapore.
Yet, there are still those who use the term “impossible.”
There’s no such thing. Everything is within the reach.
They are simply justifying their own lack of will to move even an inch away from their comfort zones – “steady” 9-5s and couches.
To avoid those “you’re a bitter disappointment” looks, they will loudly articulate alleged reasons why something is “too risky.”
But our determined man is immune to all the assholes and all the elbows. If we can send the ship to the Mars, then what’s the problem, right?
What if it crash-lands? What if someone made a mistake?
Mistakes lead to fails and from the fails, we learn
Again, [clickToTweet tweet=”Mistakes lead to fails and from the fails, we learn” quote=”mistakes lead to fails and from the fails, we learn”]
We are back to square one. If a baby grabs the leaf of the plant in a desperate and futile attempt to keep the balance, the baby will never do that mistake again. The brain will learn that the leaf is not strong enough to sustain baby’s weight.
And that should never change.
We should keep challenging the status quo. We should relentlessly keep pushing the frontier and exploring the unknown. We must never become hostages of our delusional comfort zones.
In other words, we should never entirely drop the baby attitude. That’s the true secret to success:
- The combination of juvenile curiosity and courage and the brain of the adult man.
When these two are merged together, we start seeing big headlines all over the place.