In my previous article I used my son’s sport experience as an example. I also promised a follow up to dig deeper into this important subject matter
If you haven’t yet read the previous article make sure you read it first. Click here to read it.
So I mentioned my son had started off missing his first 4 throws in his first baseball game of the season. And similarly, the other boy (who we are calling John) also missed his first attempts. One boy came back and had a great game while the other one didn’t. One turned a challenge into success, while the other boy turned failure into more failure.
I also suggested this outcome was quite predictable, and that this pattern is a developed skill.
How do we develop it? Well, allow me to share the conversation at our dinner table after the game. I tell my son a story:
“You know, its so common that we human beings tend to get so frustrated, sad and angry when things don’t go well. Thats understandable. Of course it doesn’t feel good when things don’t go well. But then what often happens is that we get so frustrated that things get worse, which make us even angrier, and then it gets even worse and we get even angrier, and things just get worse and worse.
But see, once I saw this amazing guy with a remarkable skill. He was the starting pitcher in a baseball game. Guess what he did? He started off throwing 4 balls in a row to open a game. Now that would be really frustrating for a lot of people and I’m sure it was for this guy too. But then guess what he did? The second batter approached the plate and he threw… Bam. Strike one. And then… Bam! Strike 2. And then instead of playing it safe, he goes for a curveball, which he’d only done a couple of times before in his life – and it was the most awesome curveball… Bam. Three strikes in a row. Amazing."
My son breaks out in a wide smile, face beaming: “You’re talking about me.”
We have now turned this event into another one of his great successes. He has a decade of those - from imaginary situations with me in the backyard to real situations with others. In the backyard, from when he was only a few years old, he somehow always managed to come back from close defeat to victory in imaginary big game situation.
Sure, in the beginning I “arranged” it so he would come out victorious and he began to love greater and greater “pressure”. Sometimes I would win and let him handle defeat, so he would develop the desire to go at it again.
Nowadays, I never let him win. These days, I swear he’s messing with me when I’m falling behind. I manage to get closer and closer, and then when I’m real close to actually wining he pulls something out to defeat me. I bet he’s letting me come dangerously close in order to put greater pressure on himself.
Now with this real game that I wrote about in the previous article, you realize there could have been numerous scenarios and we would still have been able to turn it into a success – a successful learning experience. We don’t need to create fairy tale stories. All we need do is reflect on the absolute truth: That real achievements and successes come from how we handle various difficult situations.
Do you think he will be afraid of these situations in the future? Of course not. And as we alluded to in previous articles: It is the person who is afraid of failing who also fails.
As you know, we tend to replay past events in our minds. What do you think the difference is between someone who replays failures over and over in his mind, versus someone who replays his successes over and over again?
Everyone has heard that “we learn from our mistakes”. As I wrote in the last article, there is no such thing as “mistake” or “failure” and that we spell it learning. However, what we should realize is that we learn far more from our successes than we do from failures. When we don’t know how to transform failure – such as in John’s case – it just leads to more failure. Misery leads to more misery. Violence leads to more violence. Blaming others lead us to become greater and greater victims.
Success, on the other hand, feeds success. Happiness leads to more happiness. Gratitude leads to more things to be grateful for. Love leads to more love. This is the real power of attraction.
However, there cannot be success without learning. And a success that has no challenge isn’t much of a success, is it?
So therefore, these words “success” and “failure” become irrelevant, as they are mere labels. What are of real importance are our discoveries and experiences.
And this is where exponential learning comes in. We develop effectively because of the cumulative effect of every experience. Every experience becomes multiplied because we tend to replay it, and every experience affects the next experience. A recent experience makes a previous experience even more profound than it initially was, and so on.
Those who have trained with The Singing Zone program know that this is what we encourage and attempt to accomplish. As an example, the lessons of Month 4 may be called “vibrato lessons”. But once we get there we realize that it is the cumulative effect of everything we have done previously that makes vibrato happen more easily.
Those who have worked on the advanced range sessions of month 8 realize how the very first exercises of the Sing With Freedom program have been so important – And they have perhaps become even more important than they initially seemed to be.
Our learning then also affects our lives beyond that specific activity. My singing training, as most students have attested to, is designed to not only to make you sing and perform better. Likewise, my dinner talk with my son is naturally not just to help him become a better athlete. More importantly it is to help him become a more empowered human being.
Now there is one thing that we humans are inherently quite bad at, which if we become better at dramatically improves our lives. I‘ll address that next time.
For now I’ll leave with some questions to ponder. What events in your life have you replayed as “failures”, and have therefore become the fabric of who you believe you are? If you have performance anxiety, feel you’re never good enough, believe you are a perfectionist, etc., then I can guarantee you have been replaying something for a long time – too long. In fact, every fear we have is likely due to replaying something we have perceived as failure, and then projecting it into an imaginary future.
I get tons of emails from people who don’t dare to do something because they have been “burned” in the past. Being “burned in the past” is exactly the same thing. These fears might be not daring to sing in public, not daring to use a credit card or purchase on the Internet, not being able to make a decision, not being able to experience love, etc. Therefore, they won’t give themselves permission to engage in what they love and follow their dreams.
So what if we’ve been burned in the past. So what if we have “missed”. So what if we have made “mistakes”. The replaying of a bad event and making that stop our entire life is as ludicrous and tragic as if an 11 year old boy came to believe that he should never pitch a baseball game again just because he “missed” 4 in a row.
What do you think?