Visualize Failure


"If failure has the strength to turn your life into bitterness itself, then patience has the strength to turn your life into the sweetest joy. Do not surrender to fate after a single failure. Failure, at most, precedes success" - Sri Chinmoy

This thought seems so counterintuitive to what we have always been told. All through our lives, we have always been told that in order to achieve our dreams, goals, and aspirations, we need to see ourselves crossing that finish line holding the giant trophy with the confetti raining down. While I do believe this is important, I think we're doing ourselves a disservice by not doing one important step: Visualizing Ourselves Failing. Now, I'm not saying to spend the majority of your time focusing on your failures as I do believe that that which we focus on grows. But if we do not visualize ourselves failing, we are not properly setting ourselves up to be as successful as possible.

I'm going to give you three reasons why doing this will ultimately make you more successful in the long run while at the same time giving you the freedom to learn, develop, and continue in the short term.

Reason 1: Process - As Carol Dweck talks about in her book, Mindset, there are two different types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset says that intelligence is fixed, challenges are avoidable, and failing at anything is a problem that defines you as a learner. On the flip side, a growth mindset is one where intelligence can be improved, effort is seen as worthwhile, and failure is feedback to improve and develop. So, failure is ultimately seen as a positive. By letting yourself be Process-oriented over Outcome-oriented, you give yourself the "OK" to have a growth mindset. When you have a growth mindset, your lens shifts from final to feedback.

Reason 2: Patience - When visualizing yourself failing, you give yourself time to learn and develop. I'm not saying to just sit on your laurels and hope everything works out for you. You have to put in the work. But, being patient with yourself allows you to realize that where you are now does not determine where you will end up. Just because you had to shut down your business, were let go from your job, or got cut from your school team, does NOT mean that you as a person are a failure. Take a deep breath, learn, develop, be patient, and stay persistent.

Reason 3: Power - Everyone loves the feeling of being in control. No matter the situation we want to feel as if we have the power. When you visualize yourself failing, you give yourself that power. You realize that even though things will happen that are out of your realm of control, you knew they would happen, which ultimately gives you the power. You will fail and setbacks will occur. When we give ourselves the freedom to think this way, we are able to accurately assess the situation, see where we can improve and develop, and continue moving towards our goal.