Conquering that “One Thing”

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Personal Development

This could just be that “one thing” that’s limiting your success, that’s keeping you leashed, weighed down and trapped in a world filled with horrifying doubts. In fact it may just be your greatest self limiter! What is it?


Do remember your greatest failure? That experience which filled you with shame, self doubt, embarrassment and disappointment? That made you get so angry with yourself that you vowed to never forgive yourself? That “one thing” which has become the greatest evidence of your limitation and “uselessness” and which has grown into your greatest critic and self rejecting poltergeist?


“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”

- Mahatma Gandhi


The FEAR of FAILING! It keeps you frozen, constricted in a casket of doubt and hesitation, programming you to avoid that “one thing”, that most undesirable outcome, failure! Could this be the proverbial “mill stone” that’s keeping you leashed and paralyzed? Would you like to be unleashed? What would that mean for you? Interested?


“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”

 - Sven Goran Eriksson


The first realization is that “failure” is a cultural and social construct. It does not exist out there as “reality”, as a “thing” that you can physically see, hear, feel, touch and which can harm you. It does not exist. It is an opinion of someone else, of culture, of society, of how something should and must play out.  


Failure does not exist. Failure is simply someone else’s opinion of how a certain act should have been completed. Once you believe that no act must be performed in any specific other-directed way, then failing becomes impossible.”

 - Wayne Dyer


Secondly the criteria that defines “failure” is a cultural and social construct, defined and fed to us from birth. We were “told” that not attaining the outcome we were expected to attain or initially intended was a “failure”, that we must “get it right” the first time, that the results we get must be “perfect”; it’s “all or nothing”, “be number one” all the time. We are brought up in a “culture of perfection”; anything else but the perfect score of 12 A 1’s, the perfect image, the perfect body, the perfect career, the perfect wedding, the perfect business, perfect sex, etc. meant failure.  Now, can this be realized on planet earth filled with fallible human persons?  Perfection is a myth, an illusion!       


“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
- Joseph Campbell


Thirdly the meaning that “failure” carries is socially and culturally constructed too. To “fail” means that one is hopeless, unworthy, unacceptable, inferior, incapable, “not good enough”, stupid, undesirable, unlovable, a “sinner” and “social pariah”, a “Looser” with a capital “L”, etc.  These meanings were fed to us as “true” beliefs by figures of authority and significance in our lives, the birth of the “culture of fear”!  


“In a world flagrant with the failures of civilization, what is there particularly immortal about our own?”

- G.K. Chesterton


With such a mind set, you can imagine the horror movies we could be playing in our heads whenever we are faced with new opportunities, risks and challenges. Now to make matters worse we are addicted to the tendency of seeing “failure” as PERSONAL (it has to do with me, I’m flawed), PERVASIVE (it operates in all areas of my life) and PERMANENT (it is an unchangeable trait in me).



We take one event and magnify it, and then we identify with it and finally tattoo our whole life experiences with it. We start to say crazy stuff like “I am a failure”, “My whole life is one big failure” and “I’ll never be a success, I’ll always be last, forever the bridesmaid”. Now, can you see how the 3 P’s work its black magic? It wrecks havoc in our neurology; it leads to constant self judgment and condemnation, debilitating anxiety, helplessness, self hatred and procrastination. Once this happens, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy! Eventually it reaches its zenith, we being to fear these very self judgments that we have created and a vicious circle gets created! The birth of our poltergeist, the fear and dread of the fear of failing; self sabotaging pessimism!


“Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself,

“I have failed three times,”

and what happens when he says, “I am a failure.”

- S.I. Hayakawa


As NLP practitioners we know and recognize this nonsense. One of the empowering Neuro-Linguistic Programming presuppositions says; “There is NO failure, only feedback”. Whenever you do something, you get a response, a result and that response or result is what we call feedback, it informs us, it tells us if we have attained our desired outcome or not. If we have attained it, we move on to our next outcome. If we have not, then we have valuable information to change our strategy, our approach, to innovate, rethink, evolve, learn, grow and try again. It is called growth by “trial and error”, “experimentation”, learning, stretching and is part of the journey to self actualization and discovery. In fact that was the way we used to learn until we learned the concept of failure!


“Some people use failure as an excuse to give up, to become bitter, or cynical.

Other people look at failure as an opportunity to revisit past decisions

and to devise new strategies.”

- Catherine Pulsifer, from Do Not Be Discouraged


Do you remember how you and I learned to walk as babies? We first started by crawling. We then tried to stand and we fell, we tried again and we fell again. We learned from this “feedback” and tried again until we could stand. Then we got excited and tried to walk. Guess what happened? We fell. We learned from this “feedback”, embraced it, got excited, used more of our muscles and tried again and we fell again and again. Did we stop? If we did, the whole world would be filled with crawling adults! No we tried again and again and finally we walked and then we ran! Once we could run, we could learn to play games; climb mountains, cross steams, etc. All of us learned this way and today’s toddlers are still doing it!  Nature somehow has instilled in us the right and wholesome way to grow and achieve, through “trial and error” and feedback!   


“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong”

- Benjamin Franklin


“Results! Why, man I have gotten a lot of results.

 I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

- Thomas Edison


Emerson once said that life is a series of experiments, and the more you make them, the better. Each “failure” is a trial in an experiment and an opportunity to gather critical information for growth, self actualization and success. We all know that the many “game and life changing” discoveries, from vaccines, the airplane, the light bulb, the automobile, bifocals and the computer right to the humble Velcro and Post It, were made by individuals whose journey to success were spawned with accidents, set backs and seeming failures. Are these giants trying to tell us something? Should they not be the authority to offer us new meanings for feedback and its importance? They never made these EVENTS personal, pervasive and permanent, why should we?


“Failure is an event, never a person.”        

- William D. Brown



“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

- Sir Winston Churchill


Over and above this, we need to have the attitude of a child, which is the attitude of mastery.  The attitude of curiosity which is constantly asking, “What can I learn from this?”  That welcomes feedback and gets excited by it. The attitude of “excited resilience” that says, “A fall simply informs me of how I can change, adapt and learn. It is that giant step closer to success.” The attitude that simply won’t say no or get “beat down” in learning to walk, run, play, communicate,  experiment and grow while making it fun! We all can adopt this attitude; we have done it once before as children, perhaps now, we simply need to get our Egos out of the way and unlearn what we have learned about “failure”, after all there’s no failure, only feedback!


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

- Michael Jordan


As Richard Bandler once said, “Feedback really is the breakfast of champions.” Nothing fails like success because we don’t learn much from it and in many cases, it keeps us from evolving.  “Failure” does not exist, if it does, it only means this: that we have chosen to stop trying, moving ahead, unleashing our potential and evolving! It means that we have made the excuse to allow that “one thing” to have the last say in our lives! Once we understand this, then the attitude of choice, of mastery, is that of a child.


It’s time to slay that poltergeist and lay it to rest! It’s time to get unleashed! What’s your choice?

Failure is impossible.”
- Susan B. Anthony



Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!

Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources. He has more than 14 years experience in Sales, Marketing, Business Management and Talent Development. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois, is a Certified & Licensed Trainer of Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA), a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner.  You can follow Conrad on facebook!