There’s a whole school of thought around failure. Why it’s good, why it isn’t good, how to learn from it, why you shouldn’t try to learn from it. One of those thoughts stand out, however. And it’s from Miami’s own Armando Christian Perez, aka “Pitbull”.
“Failure is the mother of all success.”
For addicts, failure can come in many forms. Relapse is the most in-your-face form of failure, but it is certainly not the only one. Loss of jobs, relationships falling apart – both with spouses and with other loved ones, homelessness, and much more can be forms of failure for addicts. An addict can rattle off their failures all day, but ask us why we fail – addict or not – and most of us will come up empty.
So, why do we fail? Especially when we know that the consequences can be so dire? And how can failure help us succeed?
Understanding the reasons for failure can be an incredibly valuable tool for success. And, surprisingly enough, as horrid as failure is, it only has a few simple basic tenets that allows it to exist in your life.
Rationalizing the impending failure. “This particular failure that I am about to be OK with isn’t actually a total failure. It’s a small failure, it’ll be OK, I’ll get back on track right after this. I’m allowed a few missteps, right? No one’s perfect. It’s OK. I’ll be alright.”
While it is definitely true that you cannot beat yourself up over every single failure, the ones that are rationalized and ushered into your life by design are ones that can completely derail everything you have done. These sorts of failures can, and will, snowball on you until you have no other choice but to fail completely.
Lacking the discipline necessary for success. Setting a massive goal – like sobriety – needs to come with a determined mind and a well thought out framework for success. This is why a detox and rehab program, with skilled therapeutic professionals at your disposal, is important, as well as sponsor support and regular follow-up. Without that mindset and framework, the work ethic necessary to turn your goals into reality can be hollow and easily forgotten. Achieving sobriety will not be easy – you will need discipline to maintain your journey from day one through forever.
Lack of conviction. Piggy-backing on discipline is conviction. You have to want it. If you do not want it, if you’re wavering or wishy-washy with your commitment to your goal, then you will fail every single time.
Persistence. You have to work toward sobriety – or whatever your goal might be – every single day. View every day as a new opportunity to succeed and you will relentlessly pursue your goal until it is realized. Without persistence, motivation dies, as does your ability to succeed.
Forgetting about the past. The lessons of failures gone by cannot be dismissed. As the saying goes, we must learn from history, elsewise we are doomed to repeat it. That is especially so in goal setting. If you have already failed because of a path that you chose to take, choosing that path again – despite your knowledge of that past failure – will again result in failure.
When it comes to sobriety, things like hanging out with that super fun friend “just one more time” can definitely throw all of your hard work out the window. No matter how solid you feel you are within your sobriety, if that situation saw you failing before, it will see you failing again. Learn from the past. Be stronger in the future.
Not believing in yourself. Understanding how powerful you are is key to success. No matter what your past has shown you to be – you are on a new path now, and you will succeed. You will avoid the same old pitfalls, you will overcome obstacles – no matter what they are, and you will be sober. Believe that. Believing in yourself gives you the power to instill discipline, conviction, and persistence into your goal achieving routine.
Support is key, learning from the past is key, a clear path is key; but none of that is of any use to you if you do not believe in the one person who can get you across that finish line – YOU.
Knock off the fatalistic attitude. Stand up and believe in yourself. That, ultimately, will ensure your success.