Every now and again we fail at something and the way we deal with it can be a good indication of how we’re progressing in life.
I bought a motorcycle before Christmas (#midlifecrisis) and last week passed my P test – at the second attempt.
First time round I managed to fail the emergency stop. The first reaction to FAILURE was for my ego to try to get out of it. The instructor wasn't clear enough on the rules, the brakes weren't good enough etc.
But whereas in the old days I would have beaten myself up for a while over it, the five stages of grief were done and dusted in a matter of minutes and I was able to reframe it from "I failed" to "I didn't pass today".
In meditation it’s our intension to stick with our mantra instead of thinking, but inevitably thoughts come and we’re taken away with them. Rather than seeing this as “failure to meditate”, we instead understand it as a necessary part of meditation.
When thoughts come up in meditation they’re the release of stress – I go into this in much more detail on the learn to meditate course, don’t worry if it doesn’t intuitively make sense.
When we find ourselves thinking, all we do is gently come back to our mantra. In this way, again and again during meditation, we teach ourselves resilience and learn to take setbacks in our stride.
The beauty of this approach is that it allows us to take more risks. Progressing as individuals isn’t about learning how not to make mistakes, it’s about making the right ones and learning from them. There's no failure, only feedback of information.
I love this quote from Ed Catmull, President of Pixar & Walt Disney Animation, who has presided over an astonishing run of hit movies.
“Failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy – trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it – dooms you to fail.”
Sign up to a learn to meditate course to see how meditation can make you more resilient.