Month: April 2018

What to do with Failure?

What to do with Failure?

Failure.

It’s a term that is as difficult to define as success.

After doing some minor research, every dictionary I looked at — 10 to be precise — Failure means the lack of success, or unsuccessful.

It can also mean to cease functioning. Think of your heart,  or your vehicle.

It’s easy to associate Failure in an absolute way when we think of heart failure.

I tend to think in terms of right and wrong, hard defined boundaries, and statistical data that shows me what’s what…hence Failure is perceived as a hard and fast consequence to every little thing I do, or think.

But ceasing to operate properly—e.g. a heart attack because it stopped pumping life—which is absolute, the lack of success can be abstract.

The definition gets cloudy and gray.

It has a lot to do with how we view success.

For me, staying out of debt is a level of success.

Yet, there are times when I feel like a failure because I didn’t do this or that just right, or why the hell did I say this or do that?

I can be rocking it in one area in life and yet, feel like such a turd.

It’s as if I know what success is in my mind or on paper, like reaching a goal, but for some reason when (not if) I make a mistake, or worse, DO NOT meet some sort of internal expectation, BAM!…I exclaim to myself, “I am a failure!”

Then, I spend an inordinate amount of time raking myself over the coals with self-inflicted anxiety, worry, and frustration—which keeps me awake at night with reruns of my “failures” of the past, which steals precious rest for tomorrow and sets me back emotionally going into a new day.

Once that happens, it turns into a vicious cycle.

I hate cycles that seem to suck the life out of me and leave me feeling like an absolute idiot.

So, to break the chain of events that ultimately lead to a downward spiral, until I finally crash in despair, I’ve incorporated a few things that help me place failure, success, and even life in a far better perspective than ever before.

  • Accept I’m human. I know that sounds simple, but until I realized that I’m not perfect, and never will be, I labored under the worse taskmaster in my mind: Perfectionism. I never allowed myself wiggle room to be human.
  • Lower my expectations. I have high expectations. Not just of my performance at work, in business, or professional, but with life—how it works…er, how it should work. Timelines I have for myself, expectations, as to when success should happen…NEVER lines up with reality. That goes for about everything else in life.
  • Reflect, but don’t hold onto emotions. When you discover you’ve forgotten something so simple—like “where’s my sunglasses?!”…”Um, they’re on top of your head, Honey.”—you can feel so stupid. Then, for me, the self-beating begins…”Ugh. If I wasn’t so stupid. So forgetful, such a failure!”

I find that being able to reflect without holding the heat of the emotion at that moment, is far less nerve wracking. Reflect is what a mirror does, it bounces the image off of it. The opposite occurs with a glass pane where it soaks up and retains the heat of the sun. When I stumble, I reflect how I did so, and then come up with a plan that will circumvent that issue next time. When I reflect, I usually discover that I’m not being mindful of the situation before me, I’m not in the present, and thus, I forget things I shouldn’t.

  • Treat myself better…with dignity and respect. This is hard. I have tortured myself because once the heat strikes me of my self-imposed failures and I retain that heat, I become more frustrated and do something stupid to myself: hit a wall, throw a tool (once it cost me a new window in my garage), beat myself up in the gym, and even deny myself sleep until I can work the problem out—usually by fretting myself to the point of exhaustion.

Someone shared with me that when we come to this place where we feel like we’ve failed, to treat ourselves like a small child on the side of the roadway that is lost. We don’t yell at the child for getting lost, we soothe her crying and fears with soft words, gather her up with compassionate arms, and help her find home again.

  • Be grateful. I have found that I can NOT be angry at myself when I practice gratitude. Just the other day, I was upset with myself for forgetting somethings and that turned into a pity party. I felt the heat under the skin with anger and the knot in my gut. I shifted my focus after some reflection into the matter and took a deep breath. I was outside and noticed the birds chirping, the leaves beginning to bud out, then other things like how grateful I am to be alive and have love in my life. It changed my outlook within a few minutes.

***

Instead of screaming at myself, I remind myself I’m human, I’m not perfect, and then I reflect on what went wrong and how can do better next time.

The reflection has helped with coming up with a battle plan for the next day and if I don’t quite hit the mark, I look at the progress I did make and am grateful for it.

If anything, I’m grateful that I’m no longer spending precious time and energy freaking out over things, like being a failure.

 


Photo by Fathromi Ramdlon

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
<em>What Probable Cause has to do with Gossip</em>

What Probable Cause has to do with Gossip

When I was in law enforcement, one of the hardest concepts to explain to the public was PC.

PC is an affectionate term used in cop-ville that means Probable Cause.

It can be confusing, even for cops, what PC is and how to apply it.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Probable Cause as…

Facts and evidence that lead many to believe that the accused actually committed the crime…

Bottom line is, PC is the burden of proof, not a hunch, that an officer needs to make an arrest.

But, to convict someone at trial, I must prove the suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher burden of proof than PC—the proof I can arrest for.

“That’s bull$%*^!” you exclaim.

And…you might be right.

Simply put, PC are facts that I, as a cop, can articulate at the time of arrest, that #1—there is a crime; #2—that the suspect is connected to that crime, and #3—there’s enough evidence, whether it’s testimony from eyewitnesses, or hard evidence—like you’re the one standing with a ball bat, glass all over your happy-self, and the window you’re standing next to is broken—

BAM! PC.

I slap cuffs on you and you get to ride in the back of a police car.

But that doesn’t mean you’re guilty.

That just means I have enough proof to take you in to be booked and charged with a crime.

Now, what happens if…

Your friend calls you, insists that you meet him wherever, but doesn’t say anything about the broken window he just busted.

You arrive, he hugs you (thus, now you have glass all over yourself), hands you the bat and says, “Gotta go, cya.” and runs away.

Seconds later, I show up.

You have to admit, this looks bad.

In your possession is incriminating evidence.

There’s an actual crime not more than a few feet away.

You tell me your story.

I say, “Hm, sounds interesting.”

Now, I have a decision to make.

Do I take for granted what see or do I conduct an investigation to find out the truth?

Do I look around the neighborhood for your friend, so-and-so?

Do I have another cop go over to so-and-so’s house to talk to them? Which, we’re likely to find so-and-so’s story not too credible, and who can’t notice the blood oozing from his knuckles after he smashed the window?

Now…

If I do a proper investigation and take a little bit of time to discover the truth, then I will make a proper judgment call with PC on the correct suspect. Thus avoiding a stinky situation called, a false arrest.

Everyone is probably nodding heads right now. But, this isn’t about cops or how they do their jobs.

It’s about you and me on an everyday basis.

——————————————

Gossip is so insidious, malicious, and damaging.

No proof, no investigation into what is heard, and yet judgment is handed out behind someone’s back. There’s not even a text, email, or God forbid, a phone call to the accused to find out what is what.

That someone, is condemned without any PC at all, no less the burden of proof to actually convict someone, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” says those who love to gossip. Hey, I’ve said it too. As far as I know, the fire could be coming from the neighbor’s house. How would I know unless I cared enough to find out?

And yet, when I give myself to the gossip mill, I can feel hurt, slighted, demeaned, and betrayed, all at the same time.

Hurts and wounds, all because my filters allowed me to see something that someone else painted about another person that involves my life, and yet, without proper investigation, I have condemned a potentially innocent person, and I carry a weight that isn’t even real.

Gossip doesn’t warrant one minute of our time, but I can tell you; I can get caught up with it as quickly as anyone else at the thought of so-and-so, doing such-and-such, without any burden of proof whatsoever.

That creates drama, anxiety, fear, and doubt. All of which wastes emotional energy that we all have a very limited supply of.

If I do hear potentially incriminating evidence, I need to call you to find out what’s up. But, one thing I MUST NOT let myself do, and that is repeat that information unless I have PC.

AND…so what if there is PC, then what? Usually, it’s none of my business, and need to keep my mouth shut anyway.

How about this…if there is PC and it bothers me, perhaps I can reach out to you and help in some way.

How different would that be and how many hurts and wounds could be healed doing that instead of repeating slander?

And here’s something that is liberating…realize that what others say of you behind your back is none of your business.

As you make adjustments in life to become better…people will talk.

As you change directions…people will talk.

As you walk a path that doesn’t fit into the box others want you to live in…people will talk.

Seriously, it’s okay. Let them do so.

Like training yourself not to gossip, train yourself not to fire back at those who gossip about you…this also liberating.

Never worry yourself about what others say of you who don’t have the courage to sincerely ask you about your path and truly want to know how you are doing.

I want to be drama free.

I don’t have the energy to chase down empty clouds and play with stories in my mind that enslave me with fear, worry, or bitterness, because I don’t have PC.

And, without PC, I’m free.

I want to live free.


Photo by Alexas Fotos

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Leadership, Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement