I was cooking up a storm the other day when I thought to myself just how much I enjoy cooking. And how, if I say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. I adore experimenting with flavours, trying new recipes or making dishes look pretty. I then contemplated how some people absolutely hate to cook. I then remembered that I used to be one of them – because I was really, really bad at it. I have burned water – fact!
Cooking, like most things in life, can be a chore when you first start to learn. And then, when your culinary skills improve, you get better at it and begin to enjoy it.
So the question is: how do you get over failing at something when you first begin to learn, in order to get good at it?
The answer is to try to become curious about failing. If you open your arms and welcome your inability to be awesome at something immediately, find curiosity about it, move closer to your failing – you can pick yourself up and learn a lot.
Failing And Learning From Failure
When you first begin to learn something new, take note of the times you feel frustrated with your own inabilities. Now turn towards these feelings of frustration, or whatever feelings you’re struggling with: impatience, boredom, confusion, wanting to quit.
Turn towards each feeling and instead of trying to stop or avoid it, try embracing it. Sit down and ponder over it. Give your feeling space.
Now begin to get curious about it; what is it like? What is the sensation of each feeling? Where is it located in your body?
Tell yourself you don’t know much about it, and try to learn more. Don’t judge, don’t automatically think you know what it is, be open to whatever sensation you are feeling.
Our minds love comfort zones; many of the feelings you are experiencing could well be your body pushing you to give up. It doesn’t want to change, try new things, explore its own limitlessness. So it will throw negative feelings at you in the hope that you will, indeed, quit.
By exploring your feelings and allowing your mind to ‘do its thing’, by being open to failing and staying with it you will make progress. It takes time and practice, but eventually, you will get good at whatever it is you’re attempting and start to enjoy it.
Now, this is the secret sauce, when we become good at something and comfortable doing it, it becomes another comfort zone. Just think of the things you do every day, you didn’t learn how to do them by osmosis. You had to take the time to learn – and in many cases fail. The very things that used to challenge you have become second nature, they are within your comfort zone.
Then, one day, you will have to push your way out of your new comfort zone by finding a new way to fail. But that’s another challenge, for another day. Learning, failing and striving to succeed is what keeps our lives and brains from stagnating.
So join me in a life filled with spectacular failure and continuing pursuit of success.