These events put me in a reflective mood, which made me ask some questions. What is a failure, anyway? Is it when I don’t accomplish my goals or when I make my goals so lofty they are beyond reasonable reach? How high should I make my goals? Should I shoot for the “moon” or just create stepping stones?
Sometimes I believe both work, stepping stones and the moon! We need long term goals because that gives purpose, but we need manageable goals too, so we can feel like we’ve accomplished something in the process of reaching that long term goal! People can become defeated when they don’t reach their goals and feel frustrated and unproductive when there isn't a defined purpose. As humans we need both goals and purpose, even though there are those who would certainly disagree.
People in general often have a varied definition of failure. For some if the goal is to follow a strict dieting regime five days a week and only manage it for three, it could be considered a success, since three is better than none; or for someone else, it could be viewed as a failure since five was the desired goal and only three days completed. Each person has their own failure to success ratio with personal stepping stones, desires and satisfaction levels.
Developing the skill to stay with set goals is a step in the right direction and to accomplish a goal three out of five times is good if the following week it becomes four of five and then five of five. Many create a plan with a period of failure along the way. It provides a cushion if things build up in the day-to-day life schedules, and who doesn’t have days when unplanned events cause our regular plans to completely go off balance?
I’ve found setting manageable goals is hugely helpful in completing those tasks that are particularly overwhelming due to it’s large size or even the complexity. When a task is broken into manageable pieces, accomplishment is easier and once a piece is completed it gives the feeling of success which manifests itself in the desire to continue on to the next task until the entire project is completed.
Being behind is a state of mind I suppose and as long as I push forward, I can take comfort in knowing I’m trying and isn’t that what most of us want? We are not failures! But we do want the feeling of accomplishment and productivity that gives our lives purpose, meaning and value, despite those days or weeks when life hammers us with the unexpected crisis!
So I challenge you! Set goals, use stepping stones, move forward and upward! You are not a failure!