The Voice of the Subconscious Mind
As this is my first post of 2021, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. My wish for everyone is that the year brings to you good health, and much happiness. 2020 was a trying year for many as the world struggled with a pandemic that crushed economies, separated friends, and distanced families, by passing restrictions in every facet of our daily lives. I do not want the focus of this post to be on the pandemic and 2020’s struggles, but would rather look forward to 2021 with optimism and excitement. Besides, the past year was not all that bad, and many positive and beautiful things came out of it, for me personally, and as a collective community. As in all times of despair and uncertainty, humanity came together and supported each other on many fronts. Let us look enthusiastically to the end of the pandemic and a return to some normalcy. What will that look like for you? How will you embrace it? What can you do this year to ensure that you do not carry any past negativity and uncertainty with you today, and into your future?
We all have goals, resolutions, and changes we would like to make. Heck, that is what New Years is all about! It is a chance for new beginnings. A chance to create new habits, break old ones, mend fences, conquer obstacles and fulfill dreams. Of course you can do this at any time of the year, but there is something about the beginning of a new year that symbolizes a fresh start; so take advantage of this. I have made several large goals this year, as well as many smaller ones, but I truly want this year to be focused on pushing the boundaries of my mind. I want to discover how strong it is. I have goals that will push its creativity, push its fortitude, and push its resilience in the face of fear and uncertainty. I truly am excited about the next 12 months, and also a little surprised that I am not fearing failure. I used to always fear failure, and somewhere in the past decade have simply not cared about it. Does this come with age, or do we simply come to a point in our lives where we realize that failure is a part of progress. Failure is the space where we as individuals grow and become better.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”-John Wooden-
It is because of my new year resolutions, and the direction I am choosing to follow, that I want to begin the year with focusing on why it is so important to not fear failure. Furthermore, I want to discuss that part of our subconscious mind that will either hinder or help how we handle failure. Managing and understanding this feature of your mind will become your greatest weapon, or your most dreadful enemy. We call it, our ego. The dictionary defines ego as a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. How we see ourselves, and how we view our significance in this world determines largely how we handle failure. Let me explain. Our ego loves success, it likes to tell us that our successes our because we earned it, or simply because we deserve it. Because of this, failure is often seen as ‘not fair’ and many people will often provide a hundred reasons why they failed, which frequently targets an external factor. You will often hear people complain about some external variable, whether it be another person or another thing. Your ego values people who validate your self and self-importance by your successes, and if you fail at something you lose that validation. Your ego will try to maintain its importance and worth, by blaming something else for the failure in hopes of not being crushed. This is often a result of having a fragile self-worth, or being dependent upon life always going our way. Let me clear this up right away and state what should be obvious; life is not fair. Life does not owe you, me or anyone – anything. We need to get this out of our heads so that we can be honest about our realities, stop creating entitlement, and seeking validation. We need to stop feeding our ego, who loves this notion of ‘fairness’. This can be difficult in an era dominated by our obsession with validation through social media platforms. Life is about hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck. The luck percentage, we can not control; but the hard work and determination percentage – we can. The good news is, luck only makes up a small portion of whether your efforts end in success or failure.
Failure is a result of our efforts coming up short, or that little component of luck, stood in the way of our success. I believe this is where the phrase, “better luck next time” was coined. Sometimes, all the preparation and hard work you put in still results in what others view as a failure. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking it was not fair, expect pity – our own or anyone else’s – or blame someone else. Who cares what someone else thinks? Only your ego cares; you should not. You should already be looking at where you can prepare more, or work harder, increasing your self awareness to stand an even greater chance of success the next time. The thing about luck is that it changes in every circumstance and around every corner. Do not worry about it, as it is an uncontrollable variable. And do not worry about what people think or how they pass judgement on your failure. This is a problem and struggle with their own ego. People who have control and manage their ego will not judge your failure or their own. It will not affect their identity, nor will they place blame, look for pity, or expect validation. These are all actions of the egotist and someone who has little control of it.
“All my successes have been built on my failures.”-Disraeli-
We have all been victims of our ego, and I unfortunately have let my ego control many of my decisions which led me down paths I otherwise would not have taken. Always seeking validation, I was afraid to fail, and changed directions many times because of this fear. Do not let this happen to you, and if it has, then it is time to take back control and begin training your ego to become your strongest weapon, not crutch. Let your failure be nothing but a chance to re-evaluate your efforts and become stronger, so that next time you will be that much closer to succeeding. Do this and you will never stray from your passion, but continue to strive at it. Let your focus be on your efforts, not on your results. The results will come in time and you will always continue to grow and get better. Remember to keep doing something, instead of trying to be something or someone. And finally, help others be great, help them reach their goals instead of judging their failures. This will give you purpose and help you succeed in managing your own ego, as you have to set it aside to do so.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”-Maya Angelou-
Let us make 2021 a year for lifting each other up, and encouraging one another to strive towards their passions and achieve their goals. Humanity needs more of this, and after a year like 2020, it is a good reminder of how easily our lives can alter. Do not waste another moment; do not let another year pass you by where your wishes and wants remain in the back of your subconscious mind, echoing the phrase – “someday, one day.” Make them conscious, say them out loud, and make your someday – today.