Ten Ways to Transform Failure into Success

Posted by on March 17, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 0 Comments

Image via The Mind Unleashed

By Gary Z. McGee | The Mind Unleashed

Life is pain. Whether it’s the simple pain of failure, or the complex pain of death-anxiety. Whether it’s the simple pain of hunger, or the complex pain of wrestling with your demons. If you’re alive, and especially if you are living a life well-lived, you will experience pain.

How you deal with this pain, and thus how you deal with failure, is what will make or break your character. Disposition is the thing. Temperament is more of a gauge than happiness or sadness. Your flexibility and openness will ultimately decide the robustness of your spirit. With that in mind, here are ten ways to transform failure into success.


1.) Apply the Backwards Law:

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” ~Mark Manson

Also known as the law of reversed effort, the backward’s law is a quirky little perceptual feedback loop that can turn anyone’s brain into a pretzel.

Basically, when we dwell on wanting a positive experience, we are highlighting our lack of a positive experience. This highlighting of a lack is itself a negative experience. Which creates a negative feedback loop. The next thing we know, we’re anxious about being anxious. We’re pissed off about being pissed off. We feel like a failure about being a failure. And that’s the trap.

There comes a point where the only way forward into growth is to accept how shitty our situation is, in the moment. Embracing our failure is itself a success. When we accept the fact that we’re not happy, we create a positive experience. This positive experience may not be happiness itself, but it’s a start. It becomes a foundation for further positivity, despite failure.

2.) Transform demons into diamonds:

“The obstacle is the path.” ~Zen Proverb

Just as the grain within the oyster can be transformed into a pearl, the pain within the human can be transformed into strength. Wounds can become wisdom when we allow ourselves to be curious about how our scarring has made us who we are.

Becoming curious with our deep wounds is honoring them with our attention. When we’re able to honor our wounds, we’re more likely to reconcile our demons. It’s not so much that we suffer less but that we suffer better.


Transforming demons into diamonds is having survived a great tragic something, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually. It’s registering more fully with our suffering and, instead of turning away or repressing it, we come out the other side of the cocoon able to “fly” with it. Our wounded heart rises up, bloody and bruised, but with bandages trailing behind it like a cape.

3.) Transform failure into a game:

“A person only plays when they are a person in the full sense of the word, and they are fully a person only when they play.” ~Friedrich Schiller

Life is a poker game. You can’t control the cards you’ve been dealt, but you can control how you play them. It’s your responsibility alone to play the hell out of whatever shitty hand you’ve been dealt.

In order to transform failure into success, somethings got to give. You cannot self-correct in a vacuum. You must embrace that vacuum and squeeze all the hot air out of it, lest you fall further into failure.

Transforming failure into a game makes you more flexible and less rigid, more adaptable and less intractable, more playful and less serious. Your playfulness will give you courage, which will open you up and transform boundaries into horizons.

4.) Process over Progress:

“Circumstances don’t make the man; they only reveal him to himself.” ~Epictetus

Ironically, focusing on process regardless of progress makes you more likely to progress. When you make process primary and progress secondary, you are more likely to be successful in your pursuits.

It’s all about devoting yourself to a system rather than a goal. Having a goal is just fine. But what happens if you fail? You’re more likely to get lazy or quit completely if you’re focused on a goal that fails than if you’re focused on a system that endures whether you fail or succeed. Having a goal is better than having no goal at all, sure. It’s better than inertia and laziness. But what’s better than having a goal is having a system.

Having a goal is about dreaming. Having a system is about action. It’s about doing. Goals, like failures, just get absorbed in the process of the system. They are subsumed and become more like guideposts than end-results.

5.) Allow yourself to not give a fXXk:

“The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” ~Rumi

Not giving a fXXk is a tricky proposition. You can’t completely not give a fXXk because then you’ll just end up perpetually neglectful. But if you give too much of a fXXk, you risk taking yourself, and the opinion of others, too seriously.

The question is this: Why do you give a fXXk about petty shit when you could give a fXXk about magical shit instead? Chances are culture has conditioned you into giving too much of a fXXk about petty, unfulfilling shit and not enough of a fXXk about magical, fulfilling shit.

Here’s the great part: what’s magical and fulfilling is entirely up to you. But there will always be consequences to your choices. There’s always the greater law of the universe to contend with. Better to align your giving a fXXk with the healthy dictates of the cosmos so as to avoid the unhealthy consequences of ignoring them.

 

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