Thursday, December 17, 2015

Perception, Failure and Growth

by Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.

“What we perceive as a failure may simply be our inner being’s way of telling us that we are ready to move to a new level of growth.   ~ Anne Wilson Schaef

There is a reciprocal relationship between our perceptual filters and our experience in the world. This relationship evolves over time as we collect experiences in various life arenas. The word “failure” is highly emotionally charged, overflowing with meaning that primarily serves to facilitate our feeling bad about a situation and ultimately ourselves. And yet, for most of us, our experience of “failure” is exactly what is needed to facilitate a quantum leap in our self-awareness, understanding of the world, skill development and psychological growth. With time, distance and a shift in perspective, an experience that we previously labeled as a "failure" often turns out to be the exact situation leading to where we needed to be. How different would your experience of failure be if you were able to shift your perspective around it? What if you were able to speculate about what you could potentially gain from a “failure” in terms of clarity, self-awareness, wisdom and growth? With the wisdom provided by hindsight reflection, many events that I considered to be failures at the time they occurred turned out to directly lead to success. The situation I perceived as falling apart, served to shift me in ways that facilitated my professional and personal growth. With time and a shift in perception, the “failure” turned out to be a wonderful gift.

What is your relationship with “failure” and how might a shift in perception potentially lead to your growth and evolution?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:
Are Your SMART Goals Smart Enough?
Breakdown to Breakthrough


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