Deconstructing Failure

This month the topic we’ve talked about is self-control. It hasn’t been an easy topic for me, I’ve had plenty of challenges to deal with that have threatened my self-control and made me question things more than I usually would. It’s not easy when your world or the foundations you’ve constructed shake.

I was reminded in a blog post I read over the weekend that we tend to expect the bad stuff more than hoping for the best. We anticipate being fired when called into a boss’s office, anticipate the worst possible things when our partner says that we need to talk, or think the worst when our kids aren’t doing well in school. However, that seemingly ever-present expectation of failure isn’t always, or even usually, the reality. We tend to build up things in our minds, things that aren’t anywhere near the truth and often the lies we assume become more important or real than the truth.

So what do we do? First we start by recognizing that we do look for the bad stuff rather than expecting the good stuff. Until we take this step we won’t be able to do anything about the rest of it. You see, the absolute truth is that how we see things is the way they are. You see things one way and I see them differently even though we’re both seeing the same situation so we’re going to react in two different ways. How we see the world is how we perceive reality. Only when we realize how we tend to view the world can we do anything about it.

If we want more self-control, ironically it means we need to know ourselves well enough that we know when to push and when to let go. Control isn’t just about the iron fist we have around our words and actions, it’s about knowing when to lean into a turn and when to break.

“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead one to sovereign power.” Alfred Lord Tennyson


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