Tag Archives: attitude

When is failing, failure?

This is a question I’ve had the opportunity to consider in my work role that I commenced earlier this year. A core component is determining the presence of the scientific method in assessing complex research and development projects.

In science, I’ve learned failing is a lesson, a pathway to a revised experiment. In life, failing is more often seen as being unsuccessful. The reality is, though, that failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.

Muhammad Ali was a great boxer, deemed by many to be ‘The Greatest’ of the 20th century, perhaps all-time. As a boxer, he was knocked-down by opponents. How many world titles did he win from the canvas? He won world titles not by staying down, but by rising up and continuing to fight. Boxing analogies are well-used I know, but that’s because they reflect what many of us do not do. When we’re struck down, floored by an unseen challenge, we spend too much time working out how and why when we should be readying ourselves for the next round.

Are we using failing as an opportunity to learn and go again, or we allowing it to nudge us closer to failure?

This is where we need to adopt the view of science, not the world. We need to measure our efforts, our plans, by the systematic progression of work we’re employing, not by the immediate outcome.

Adopting the scientific method into our own world means that we begin with the idea, the dream, the goal. Around this we develop a framework of what we think is required – the skills, the knowledge, the relationships, the courage. This provides the platform for our ‘experiment’ where we infuse the idea with effort, where we give it a go.

At this point, the immediate outcome may not be the final result. If our effort delivers the outcome we desired, fantastic – move onto the next idea! If the outcome is not what we desired, fantastic – move back to the framework we created and alter, refine and expand. If the result remains the same after several iterations of the framework, we may even need to go back to the original idea to determine if this is valid for us at this point in time.

The famous quote attributed to the inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison, epitomises the scientific method ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’

Failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.


“Won’t power”

It’s not the willpower, it’s the ‘won’t power’ that’s important” was regularly recounted by my dad when people spoke about diets and refraining from certain foods. He was, of course, talking about one’s ability to say ‘no’ to those foods rather than simply the desire for change. I’ve found that whilst seasons of saying “yes” to opportunities have enlarged my world and my capacity incredibly, the power of saying NO to behaviours and attitudes is paramount to lasting change.

Change starts with a desire. A wish for things to be different. Whatever this ‘different’ is – be it in the area of health, relationships, finance, career, parenting – will always require a change in both our behaviour and mindset. What we do and how we think is essential for lasting change. This is where my dad’s quip is important – we need to say NO to those old behaviours, those old mindsets and attitudes, replacing them with the new desired behaviour and thinking. Being keen and enthusiastic won’t bring the results – action is always required!

As we step into a new year, some of us tend to resolve that ‘things will be different this year!’ The resolve won’t deliver change. If we’re genuine about change for the sake of ourselves and those around us, then let’s remember the ‘won’t power’.

What do you need to say NO to in 2016?




What’s your colour?

I had a friend some years back who claimed he could see your “aura”.  Apparently, we each emit an aura, a subtle luminous radiation around our bodies. This aura can change colour based on our emotional state.

Now I don’t know much about auras, but what if our moods could be represented by colour? What colour would you be?

In the midst of conversation, would our emotional colour be supported by our words and deeds? Would what we’re saying actually be reflected by what we’re thinking and feeling?

I’m not encouraging each of us to share everything that we’re thinking – appropriate self-disclosure is an important skill! What I’m asking each of us to consider is are we genuine in our interactions? What is our motivation behind the relationship?

Do we tolerate behaviours because that person may afford us some advantage? Do we not praise and encourage as we’re afraid of giving the other person a ‘big head’?

If our moods could indeed be represented by colour and we’re visible to those around us, would we change what we’re saying, what we’re doing, or what we’re thinking?

What would your colour say about you?

Let Hope Rise

Image credit: potowizard / 123RF Stock Photo

Is it time to release the handbrake?

Have you ever sought to head off at the intersection only to find that your car remains stopped or very reluctantly moves on? I have, and it’s been because the handbrake is still on!

There are plenty of potential handbrakes in our own lives. Things which, if not disengaged, will slow us down or bring us to a complete stop. These are normally issues that have not been adequately managed or dealt with, so they keep impacting our desire to progress.

The handbrakes could be significant matters such as addiction or unforgiveness. They could also be seemingly less significant – maybe a negative mindset or a lazy attitude towards finance. Regardless of how they look, the result is the same. Movement slows; momentum halts.

So what do we do? …the handbrake must be released.

We must first identify what the handbrake is and recognise its negative impact. We must accept it is up to US to change it, or our response to whatever it is. Even things which have happened to us – we are responsible for how we respond and whether we allow the actions of others to continually disrupt our future.

It’s not easy. But it remains our decision. Do we allow our past to control our future? Or do we tackle it head-on?

Release the handbrake into your future!


Image credit: grafikeray / 123RF Stock Photo

What’s burning?

Summer mornings of late I have awoken to the faint, but very identifiable, smell of smoke. Scanning the horizon there are no apparent signs of fire but the smell remains, infiltrating every corner of my home. I cannot locate the source, but I know it exists.

In our own worlds we may not be able to identify the cause, but we experience the result. The outcome of a negative attitude, a destructive behaviour, an unwillingness to change. We may not be positioned to perceive the root cause, but we feel or see the tangible outcome in our relationships, our careers, our finances. Others probably do see the cause. On these summer mornings there are firemen and women battling fires or managing back-burning far removed from my suburban domain. They are aware of both the cause and the outcome.

There are firefighters in our circle who are perceptively positioned to see into our world. Removed from the emotion that clouds our vision, they identify the negative attitude, the destructive behaviour, the unwillingness to change. These firefighters may in fact be available to help us initially contain and then overcome this issue. The first step for us, though, is to follow the smoke trail to the cause, to the attitude or behaviour that is either subtly smouldering or boldly blazing.

As 2012 draws to a close and we embark on the exciting journey that will be 2013, let’s start by allowing our destiny friends to help us bring the fires under control.


Image credit: rfoxfoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Bring forth the new status quo…

The idea of change frightens many of us.

The disruption of our routine with which we’re familiar is uncomfortable. But once change has occurred, we tend to develop a new routine, accommodating the very thing which we feared.

I’ve been part of several major workplace changes in recent years. Teams consolidating, roles changing, status quo disrupted. Ahead of the changes, team members exhibited a range of emotions from reluctant acceptance to cynicism to fear. Very few individuals genuinely welcome seemingly radical change although some people certainly look for the benefit, perhaps as a means to quell nerves!

Once the teams have consolidated and the roles have changed, a new status quo is defined. That’s the funny thing about the status quo, it changes!

My learnings from these experiences indicate that the dangers of change verbalised by antagonists rarely, if ever, materialise to the extent foretold. What does materialise is a transition period, the success and length of which is highly dependent upon the communication process and training. People have tended to become more accepting of anticipated change if it is clearly communicated, if stakeholders are appropriately engaged and if they are practically supported, before, during and after the process.

Change truly is inevitable. People change. Companies change. Economies change. You and I change. Our perspective and attitude may also need to change if we are to embrace the upside of change. Let’s set a new status quo for ourselves as we look towards a new year!


Image credit: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo