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Learn From the Past: There Is No Such Thing as a “Do-Over”

MOST of the time when we succeed, there’s a series of various trial attempts that happened prior to the one win. Failure is inevitable. Christy Whitman, author of QUANTUM SUCCESS, explains how we must learn from the past in order to motivate ourselves to accomplish our goals.

Some people believe that in order to conceive a vision for what they now want to create in any aspect of life requires a clear heart and a blank slate. But this isn’t the way life works. Sometimes our expectations are not met; we run into obstacles we never anticipated, or fall short of an important goal despite giving it our very best effort. In times like these, it’s so easy to fall into despair or self-judgment. And it’s also easy to believe that we need to somehow right the wrongs that have been done by ourselves and others—but not only is this like marching in the opposite direction of what is wanted, it’s not even possible. Every step we take— even those that feel backward—has helped us to arrive at the desires we hold today. In the same way that Thomas Edison described inventing the lightbulb not as having failed more than nine hundred times but as a process that required a thousand important steps, each setback that we live through gives us incredible clarity about the new direction we now want to take. The contrast of living what we don’t want is as essential to the creative process as holding a clear vision of what we do.

Each setback that we live through gives us incredible clarity about the new direction we now want to take.

Everything that comes into being in this manifested universe—from the birth of a baby to the start of a revolution—arises from the interplay of opposite values: dark and light; emptiness and fullness; desire and satiation; expansion and contraction. The experience of not realizing an important goal; of not being where you want to be in your career; of not feeling satisfied with what you are doing or not knowing what is next for you—all these are vitally important stepping-stones toward what is wanted. In the same way that the tide cannot rise again until it has fully receded, there can be no satisfaction without having first experienced hunger. There is an ebb and flow in all of life, and periods of not enjoying what you are doing and uncertainty about what’s next are essential to the clarity that will eventually come forth as a result. While uncomfortable, pain is actually one of our greatest motivators. When our dissatisfaction with the status quo has reached a climax and we are no longer willing or able to continue down the same path, our discomfort forces open a door that allows a new range of experiences to enter our lives. The important distinction, however, is to understand pain as a force that is motivating us to a brighter future, not as an excuse to beat ourselves up for choices made or not made in the past.

Need more motivation to succeed? Pick up a copy of QUANTUM SUCCESS by Christy Whitman!

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For more on Tips on Life & Love: Failure Is Just More Discovery 

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Excerpted from QUANTUM SUCCESS by Christy Whitman. Copyright © 2018 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Michael Henry on Unsplash.

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