May 19, 2021

Finding motivational firepower


The merits of failure are vastly overstated in our culture.

We are obsessed with bragging about how badly we screwed up, just to earn another precious shred of street credibility from people we don’t even know.

But in most cases, that’s just false humility. It’s a performance in the art of failure porn.

Certainly, we all screw up and hopefully grows from that experience. But the more life giving question is, what’s your relationship to victory?

Because there is no reason to be guilty about relishing the small daily victories. There is no shame in taking the victory wherever we can. That’s all part of the long term process of growth.

Every day, one of my favorite rituals is chalking up my many victories. From writing a chapter in a new book to having a deep conversation with a coworker to getting a paycheck deposited into my bank account, they’re all victories. They all go on the list.

In my experience, small victories are critical to create the momentum for support that will lead to the major ones.

The best part is at the end of the week when my list is reviewed, celebrated, breathed in, and then deleted. That clean slate ushers me into the next week with optimism.

Can you imagine doing the same thing for your failures? Keeping a tally of every mistake you made? It wouldn’t have the same motivational firepower. Nor would sitting around with people, commiserating about all your many fuckups, and how those failures made you better.

Only by saturating our consciousness with our own victories, plus surrounding ourselves with people who are having victories and making progress themselves, does momentum build.

The other point to remember is, to be victorious doesn’t mean we have to win.

Bowman, the coach of the greatest olympic swimmer in history, writes in his book about habit how the actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that date and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.

That’s how each of us can build our own relationship with success. By seeing it as a continuum. Recognizing that there are many sources of victory and that they’re all worth counting.

And trusting that we are lovable and worthy no matter how many times we cross the finish line.

What kind of story do you tell yourself about success and failure?