Life is full of ups and downs. When we are up, it’s great! But when life knocks us down, it can hurt pretty bad. Mason has felt that physically this past year. He started playing hockey (learned to skate) this year. After watching him in his first practices, there were a few things I took away from the experience:
1. Do not be afraid to fail. Whenever you attempt something new in life or if an aspect of your life changes, don’t let failure scare you from trying to accomplishing it. Failure is as natural and important as what success is. Some of the most famous people failed before becoming a success. Jim Carrey’s first stand-up gig was at a Yuk-Yuk’s in Toronto, Ontario. He was booed off the stage. Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in the world, failed with his first business. Watching Mason this weekend reminded me not to be afraid to fail. He was relentless in trying over and over again to get up on his feet after he fell down. In fact, he spent two full 45-minute practices trying to get up for the first time.
2. We learn from failure. Failure is important because it’s when our most effective learning takes place. It was heartbreaking to see Mason out there falling down and trying so hard to get back up over and over again without jumping over the boards and helping him up. However, in doing that, he would never learn how to get up on his own.
3. Failure is a stepping stone. One of the reasons why we learn from failure is that it teaches us how NOT to do something. It allows us to adapt and try a different solution. Mason was trying multiple ways to solve his problem of trying to stand up, including just walking on his knees for a little while!
4. Perseverance is key. The most important point to remember when dealing with failure is not letting it define you. In other words, don’t let failure decide whether or not you should do whatever it is that you’re failing at. Being unsuccessful is not a sign that something isn’t right for you, it’s a sign that you just need to make adjustments and try again. Never let failure win.
These points also apply very much to dealing with anxiety on a daily basis. With the first point, if you are afraid of failing or afraid of anxiety arriving in a particular situation, anxiety is going to overcome you and win every time. Fear is what drives anxiety. You absolutely cannot be afraid of it. With that said, the first point also flows into the second point. In your attempts to not be afraid of anxiety, you will mostly fail at times. This is okay. We are all human and we are far from perfect. If you think otherwise, you are putting a excruciating amount of extra pressure and stress on yourself that you don’t need and it will lead to failing more often. Use what you learn from your past failures to help with your future battles.
The final point is all about perseverance and defining yourself. You are not an anxious person. You may have struggles with anxiety, but it’s not who you are. If you have accepted that anxiety is who you are, then you will never overcome it. Never accept that. Never stop fighting that goal to have a better control over anxiety.