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How do you define failure? Take a minute and go back in your mind to your biggest "failures" in life. What comes to mind, and more important, what does that do to your body and physiology? Recounting feelings of "failure" can raise blood pressure, alter body chemistry, and create a depressive state of mind. That's the power of the mind in action.

Now, reframe those "failures" as learning experiences. Ask yourself, "What was the most valuable thing that came out of those experiences?" What success did that lead to?

In the intrinsic (spiritual) world, there is no such thing as failure.

Failure is a concept. Failure can only exist in the context of systemic thinking as the perfect/imperfect, either/or (opposite) of success. In the two-dimensional "systemic" world of value, you either succeed or you _ _ _ _. I don't have to finish the sentence.

The "systemic" world of value is the either/or world where something exists in our minds as either perfect or imperfect. In this case, it's success or failure. WE define success, and then we aspire to achieve the concept we defined. For every single person on the planet, there is a different definition of success. Sure, there are common characteristics we all tend to ascribe to success, but the reality is that each person has his or her own unique and individual concept of success.

In the extrinsic (physical) world, what is failure? If you believe Henry Ford's definition, failure is "the opportunity to more intelligently begin again." I like that. No failure, just learning.

In the intrinsic world of value, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE. Our spirits don't fail. Our bodies fail, and often our minds "fail" but our spirits cannot fail. Failure is another one of those systemic set-ups, and for some people, a major source of tension and dissatisfaction with life. Just as there is no "perfect" purpose, there is no perfect success.

When you come right down to it, failure is a word we use to describe anything short of absolute success. Like perfection, success is somewhat unforgiving, when measured systemically. You either succeed, or you don't. For many people, there is nothing in between success and failure. It's an either/or, all or nothing outcome.

It's tough enough to bear the pressure of having to succeed at everything we do, and suffer the (self-inflicted) pain of non-success (failure). It's doubly tough when the standard of "success" is absolute. Using this definition, 99% success is still failure.

My personal feeling is that the world and everyone in it could do very nicely without the systemic concept (idea, belief, definition) of failure. For nearly two decades, I have been encouraging people in my seminars and personal interactions to eliminate the word failure. I'd like to see it removed from our dictionary. But since that will never happen, let's abolish it from our vocabulary.

I propose a different either/or - success, or learning. Even better, how about we succeed AND we learn. That creates a guaranteed win-win outcome for every choice. This is not Polly-annish thinking. It's a true reflection of the outcomes of choosing.

For the extreme perfectionist or the success obsessed, this perspective could border on heresy. After all, there has to be some absolute measure of success, otherwise how will we know when we achieve it?

Most of us see success as an end result, a destination, a positive outcome. What if success were actually the journey? What if success was not dependent upon achieving a favorable outcome? What if success were defined as the willing attempt, rather than only as the result? How would like improve if we truly saw choices in the either/AND light of succeed and learn?

Stress kills. For many of us, one of the major sources of stress is the process of decision-making, especially the BIG ones that can significantly affect and alter the course of our lives.

As beings, we crave comfort and prefer the status quo. Decisions and choices create stress because we have a vested interest in the outcome. People literally make themselves sick over life decisions. The consequences of "failure" can wreak havoc with our thinking, and in turn, weaken our immune system. There is great synergy between the mind and the body, even if we don't consciously see the connection. Just the idea of "failing" at something can send the body into spasms. I don't know a single person who has not experienced this.

Let's shift our either/or thinking of succeed or fail, into either/AND thinking of succeed and learn. After all, there is success in the attempt regardless of the outcome. The truth is, outside of our systemic thinking, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE.

Impact your life, livelihood and living today and every day in a big way. Don't accept success OR failure. SUCCEED, AND LEARN.

Written by Mitch Axelrod. Visit his website for more of The Daily Bread! - Food for Thought! Turning Small Distinctions into BIG Poss-Abilities.


"I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.
I have lost almost 300 games.
On 26 occasions I have been entrusted
to take the game winning shot......and missed.
And I have failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why....... I succeed."
Michael Jordan

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