The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Enjoying failure

Working with a coachee I was reminded of how important our beliefs are. For him, change needed to be tough. He is also someone who will believe, that sport needs to hurt to deliver good results.

It might be the consequence of an old saying that there is no gain without effort.

What the saying doesn’t do, however, is tell us what effort feels like.

An easy shortcut then becomes to assume that the discomfort that comes from doing an effort can be scaled up until it hurts to produce even better results.

Sometimes this is true. But it rarely is sustainable and probably a good reason why repeated failures discourage us.

Things are different once it is clear why we entertain an effort, or how the experience that led to a failure connects us with an objective that is important to us. It doesn’t matter if it’s our life purpose or an objective that is simply desirable. What matter is, that we can develop a sense of why the effort is worth it for us or how we can learn something from the failure that propels us toward our objective.

That failure as such becomes enjoyable might still be doubted, except maybe from those situations in which experimenting is part of the journey and helps us see what doesn’t work. However, after a while, the joy of it will fade away and call for making an effort and possibly even require a lot of perseverance. We’ll engage in it if it’s worth it for us.


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