I want you to start a fail journal.
“WHAT? ” I hear you say.
“You want me to do what? Start a journal to document my failures? But isn’t that the opposite of what positive psychologists suggest?” you continue.
Well yes. But listen.
We’re often encouraged to focus on the positive, and banish the negative. Or at least, let the negative play a much diminished role in our thinking. And this makes sense. As humans, what we focus on becomes more important. People whose focus is primarily on negative events often suffer from anxiety, self doubt, low self-confidence, and are afraid to try anything new or different. They generally become “stuck” – not only in their thinking but in their life.
So why on earth would I tell you to keep a journal documenting your failures?
- Because doing so will increase your self-awareness. Even highly successful people get things wrong and fail sometimes. But if you don’t take the time to stop and work out WHY you failed, you could well end up repeating the same mistake again. And again.
- and because in reality I am asking you to start a FAIL FORWARD journal: so even though you’ve failed, you’re going to move forward.
How? By documenting your failure and writing the reasons (or the reasons you suspect for why, this time, you failed). And then writing down what you can learn from that failure.
You will learn more from a single failure than you will do from a hundred successes.
Some failures are hard to document. You expected to succeed, yet you failed. To write it down means that you have to relive the pain. But it will also give you glimpes of different decisions you could have made: perhaps the support you could have asked for, the extra time and/or effort you could have put in.
A chance to think, to breath, to re-evaluate.
Learn from it. Turn your thinking on it’s head. Failing is only your reality if you don’t get yourself back up, learn from it, and have another go.
So when are you going to start your fail journal?