April 19

Being defeated is often a
temporary condition.  Giving
up is what makes it permanent.

Marilyn vos Savant


Today's Meditation:

We all face defeats, don't we?  And the more we attempt--the more we put ourselves out there and take risks and try things that are new and different--the more defeats we face.  This simple fact, it seems, is what keeps most people from taking risks.  They have a fear of failure, otherwise known as a fear of defeat.  They want to try things and succeed each time, for they've tasted defeat, and all they knew how to do was to give up in the face of defeat, and they didn't like that feeling.

Sometimes defeats are final.  Sometimes the other person is just bigger or better or much more talented.  But usually, defeats are just life's way of teaching us what we need to work on, what we need to improve at, what we need to change if we want to win victories in the future.  If I don't get a job that I dearly hoped for, I can sit down and figure out how I might have made myself a stronger candidate and then go after the next job.  If I get fired from a job because of my performance, I can work at making myself much better at that job so that next time not only will I not get fired, but I will excel at the job.

Sometimes this is easy to say.  Sometimes defeats are more signals that we're doing the wrong thing.  I worked in sales a few times when I was younger, and I did fairly well, but not great.  It took me quite a while to admit to myself that I wasn't a salesperson, and that it was important for me to pursue other lines of work that were more suited to who I am.  In that case I didn't so much give up on sales as I found other work that was more fulfilling to me.

I've received more rejections from agents and publishers than I can remember.  But that doesn't keep me from writing as a hobby.  No, I won't make a living from writing at this pace, but I enjoy the lack of pressure that this type of writing affords me.  I've faced those small defeats and I've found ways to work around them--in fact, those defeats are the very impetus that has helped me to grow as a writer.

If you have a passion, do not give up.  When you do, the final defeat is coming from you, not from outside of yourself.  Then you can't say that such-and-such keeps you from succeeding--you can only say that you've faced a defeat or five, and that you've since given up.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy for us to give up?  What's going on in our minds when we do? 

How might we reframe defeat in our minds in order to look at it as a lesson?

What kinds of strategies might you use to deal with a defeat and turn it into a learning experience?

For further thought:

In every adversity there lies
the seed of an equivalent advantage.
In every defeat is a lesson showing
you how to win the victory next time.

Robert Collier


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