I missed class a handful of times this semester.
“Besides, everyone else has missed a couple times, right?”
I can’t seem to save any money.
“But at least I’m current on my car payment.”
I’m glad I didn’t sign up to volunteer.
“It would have been a pain to wake up that early anyway.”
I wasn’t promoted to the position I wanted at work.
“The people who made the decision probably didn’t spend enough time on my application.”
I’m not happy where I’m living.
“But the process to move would be a total pain.”
I missed my deadline at work.
“I would have completed my work on time if it weren’t for so many meetings.”
I need to start working out.
“I don’t want people to look at me funny in the gym.”
Why should we ask for feedback?
“It’s not going to change, this is the way we’ve always done it.”
“I go out to the bars three times a week.”
“I’ve been fine so far. It’s not like I’m an alcoholic.”
How often do you feel defeated, beaten to the ground and lacking the motivation to improve? How often do you feel unstoppable, as if nothing could ever stand in your way? Most people live their daily lives somewhere in the middle. You might be stuck in a state of unrealized potential if you find yourself trotting along putting forth an average effort, perhaps occasionally going above and beyond whenever something comes your way that you’ve got a knack for. When is it okay to fall below your potential?
In order to realize our potential, we need to quit rationalizing our failures.
Everyone fails. All the time. This includes me and this includes you. But that doesn’t make it okay. We all fail to seize the immeasurable opportunities that face us on a daily basis. I failed when I didn’t take the time to thank someone who made an impact in my life. You failed when you could have read more articles on the topic you were presenting. I failed when I didn’t talk to any potential clients outside my comfort zone. You failed when you decided to cheat your monthly budget because of a sale at the mall. I failed when I didn’t do one more lap around the track, even though I wasn’t that tired. You failed when you didn’t ask for help with something you didn’t understand. I failed when I wasted my talents instead of sharing them with others.
Do we find these failures to be acceptable parts of our daily lives? More realistically, do we even recognize them as failures at all? If you have an insatiable thirst to realize your potential, you will constantly be failing. More importantly, you’ll be the first to point it out. Being honest to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses will help you accept your failures, which is the first step to identifying how to become the best version of yourself. Be the person who isn’t afraid to criticize yourself, and crave the feedback you receive when you expose your vulnerabilities.
Don’t downplay your failures, even if you reach your end goal or achieve a moderate level of success. Take your missed opportunities seriously. A person who rationalizes their failures is a person who is content with their own mediocrity. Every experience provides a time to learn and grow, and failure (when identified) is the vehicle that will steer you toward bettering yourself and the world around you.