No, I will not be giving y’all a pep talk, with fancy phrases to put on your refrigerator, like “Hang on in there baby!” over a picture of a kitten. All that is for terminal “hoper” cases. You don’t need that.
No, it’s quite simple really – rather than dealing with your life as a daily pass/fail test (we NEVER fall for all/nothing reasoning – it’s not how life works and it certainly isn’t how the brain works, and our self-monitoring is for an entirely different reason).
As long as we are using a body-mind, where the “mind” is only as good as its programming, and “the body” as a design is constantly feeding us with false data (sheesh… do you realize that the senses themselves transmit degraded, reduced information from the world, and then that is twisted by the brain into what we expect to see, hear, feel?) – we are going to make mistakes and make them over and over again.
Furthermore with the bulk of our habits being “vestigial” and leftover from past attempts at adaptation to life, interacting through our brain with new inputs being made to “fit” into a coherent view… well… screw-ups are going to happen.
Screwups-R-Us! That’s how God made us! Or that’s how we evolved – the choice is yours.
That’s your slack… there you go.
But given the fact that we have screw-ups pre-set into our programming; we now have to figure out what to do about it.
Most of us had a kind of an imprinting by continuous pounding-over-the-head in a values system around “winning vs. losing”, “being good, worthwhile, and a happy productive camper vs. being bad/defective, worthless and whiney no-good-nik”, etc.
It’s impossible not to be affected by this programming by continuous pounding of abstract values.
Even if you are an atheist or are “non-religiously aligned”, every culture on this planet (including the former communist countries), were also influenced by religions and their values, and for those who were brought up in some sort of religious orientation; you have an additional values structure imposed on top of the general cultural scheme.
Add to these your personal adaptations, and the self-narratives you made up… and it’s completely understandable that when adversity or obstacles arise, either big or small, or through complete fault of your own (with the quiet evil voice whispering “You’re no good. You’re worthless.”) that the urge to throw your hand; take your bat and ball and go home; climb into your little cave and pull the moss over the hole, can seem overwhelming.
The weight of programming, and the robot’s joy in inhibiting novel behavior, falls heaviest when we can’t fulfill the expectations we set. When we don’t meet the schedule, when we “fail”, when we fall behind… and then stop or give up.
The “magic secret” when you screw up, or hit hard times, or blow it, or “eat the forbidden food” you weren’t supposed to eat, or just fall behind in your work is to spend as little time as possible playing the robot’s game of dredging one’s memories and thoughts and feelings for reasons why and why not, who’s to blame, and “you’re an idiot”.
The main thing is to keep going. Pick yourself up, re-check your direction and plan and, instead of looking for blame, look what made the screw-up, obstacle or occasion for falling behind the inevitable result (“What makes this the right or correct result to occur?”).
The information you need is how, through either “sins” of omission or commission, you helped create the circumstances, processes or the actual practice leading to the results you have suffered. What you do with that is to re-design your process and, to the best of your ability, design out the causes for failure.
Of course, there are some things that you cannot control, but if you recall our episode on risk management; it’s the mindset and untested “axioms” that we use and abuse, that informs how we deal with risk.
The fact that the U.S. Government and FEMA and the State of Louisiana claimed, after the fact, that a Category Five Hurricane (“Katrina”) was a 1 in 100 year event and therefore “inherently unpredictable” is completely irrelevant and a nonsense.
They each had the “field intelligence” (in the form of the U.S. Army Core of Engineers report and recommendations) to mitigate and even reduce a great deal of the damage that occurred.
The point is not that they had the intelligence but ignored it. What we need to pay attention is that they refused to look at the mindset and axioms that they used that created the scale of the disaster in the first place. I’m saying that they are the robot, and they blithely defined themselves out of responsibility.
They iz us, writ large.
This is part of the reason why the world is in the condition it is in, and partly why so many people in first world countries suffer and fail more than they need to.
If you define yourself OUT of responsibility because it doesn’t fit your inner story (either “winner” or “loser”); then the robot wins but, at least, you get to be right.
The way you build a robust success system is by building the habits OF habits – the habit capabilities of generation, maintenance, and change.
Two keys are: persistence (that means “keep going… now.”), and constant weeding out of those robot-programs of attitude, sentiment (rather than true “feeling for and feeling with…”], “values”, non-thinking, and autopilot behaviors that don’t serve the futures that we desire.
Every stumble is an opportunity to change your future but you have to take it and make from it. Then keep going with your now improved plan. Move it; shift it; pick yourself up and keep going.
Problems, stumbles, “failures”, and even “disasters” are temporary but the only way they become part of the program is by you practicing them.
The secret of the secret is that if you stop, you practice stopping. That is what the brain patterns on. If you have your wobble, fall behind, or whatever… and then you recalibrate and get going again; THAT is what you’re brain will pattern to.
That’s the “meta-pattern”. Fall, fall behind, screw-up, fall of the horse, have a wobble… all of these will happen but it’s the pattern of getting up that you decide in advance by practice.
- Choose a recent mis-calculation, mis-timing, mis-perception, fall down, fall behind, fall off the horse.
- Say, “Yup. I did this [articulate the issue or mess in a sentence].
- Examine how the specific result was the appropriate, correct, and indeed inevitable thing that was going to happen. Figure out the sequence of actions and most importantly, your part in it, and then what you would have to have done for the result to be different. Sometimes it’s all down to you. Sometimes it’s part down to you (but you can still do things differently). Other times, it’s out of your hands (but remember… what some call “hoarding” others call “risk management” and as God is my witness… I shall never go without toilet paper again!).
- Take what should have been done to create a different result and make it a part of your plans. Change now.
We are always works in progress. If you failed or screwed up; plan and adjust to eliminate the screw-up. At least, plan how to screw-up better next time.