Overcoming failure is actually about using that failure.
This post is about leveraging the most painful moments in your life to push past your limits and overshoot on all your goals.
The Victim Mindsets
Pain, anger, traumas, failure, abuse…. These can be negatively defining moments in your life. Or they can be your stepping stone to greatness. The following are all the ways people let pain drag them down:
Let It Slide
Let it slide, pretend nothing hurtful happened.
But deep down you know someone disrespected you, you know somebody hurt you. And the more you let things slide, the more your self esteem will take a hit.
He just said you should eat less. It hurts you, but you “just let it go”.
Except, you don’t.
Pretend You’re OK With It
That nagging thorn on your side.
Out of fear of change and of standing up for yourself you pretend you’re cool with it, and keep living a subpar life.
The “friend” making fun of you. He always cracks jokes about you and all the group laughs. And you laugh along.
Except, you really didn’t feel like laughing at all.
Complain to yourself, complain to your friends.. And do nothing. The perfect victim mentality.
The boss disrespects you in front of colleagues. But instead of standing up to a bad boss, you prefer complaining with your colleagues.
“He’s an asshole”, you say.
But that asshole just owned you.
It just happened, now you gotta move on, “forget it”. Except you can’t really forget it and just go back living your previous life. Just with one more baggage and another painful memory.
She dumped you via text message, is telling her friends you were a mistake. You “move on”, passively waiting to meet another girl. Just a bit more scared now.
Victim / “Talk” Therapy
You’re the victim. A poor, defenseless soul at his mercy.
Your boyfriend is abusive. Don’t leave him, don’t change.. Just pay someone to listen and wait for things to change (teaser: you’ll be waiting for a while).
Give The Other Cheek
This must be the best of them all. Here are some sentences that perfectly make that idea clear:
- He just needs it for his personal gratification, that’s why he bullies you
- Kill them with kindness
The fact that he might have his own problems does’t mean he must create problems for you.
Pain as Catalyst For Greatness
What I’m proposing instead is that you use you pain, failure and worst hours as your catalyst moments for change, growth and revolution. If you look at the story of some of the biggest achievers, many used their most painful moments for change.
- Tony Robbin‘s mother poured glue in his mouth
- Oprah was raped at 9 years old and for years on
- David Goggins‘ father beat him mercilessly
These are some people who used the immense pain as fuel for growth. And don’t think it’s just a few famous guys. There are countless you and I don’t know who are doing amazing things and living a happy life.
The question is, are you going to let your pain devour you or are you going to use it?
It’s OK to be down, depressed or take time off. But the, eventually… Are you going to rise up?
Remember, the night is always darkest before the run rises.
Using Anger As Fuel
Peterson in his book 12 Rules for Life says that aggression can be channeled into meaningful social pursuits and that it’s at the very least necessary for standing up to evil. That much is true.
And he also suggests that people repressing all their aggressive tendencies develop psychological issues.
And that’s why you should welcome your anger and aggressive tendencies towards achieving your goals:
Getting in The Zone
Tim Grover says it’s anger that gets you in the zone. It’s anger simmering beneath your skin, barely about to burst, but you keep it under control for laser focus and peak performance.
When you control anger, you can shut everything down and focus on one thing only: the task at hand.
I’m writing this post after Amazon mistakenly shut down my referral program account. If it can’t be fixed it will cost me days of work.
I was struggling to find the right mindset to write this post. Now I use that anger for a full focus session.
If you struggle to start things: get angry. Get angry about your current situation and finally get the ball rolling.
Angela Duckworth in Grit explains very well that success is highly correlated to grit and to hard work and sticking with your endeavors. Whenever you feel like you’re letting up… Getting angry and renew your focus. There’s no reward until you cross the finish line.
Pushing Past Comfort
The Talent Code says that to learn you must work at the edge of your comfort zone in repeated and grueling sessions.
And that’s when anger can help you. Experiments show that people in angry states can resist pain considerably longer than individuals in non angry states. Whenever you’re tired, in pain or at your wits’ end: get angry.
Leveraging Your Dark Side
Tim Grover in his fantastic book Relentless says that all top performers are driven by a dark side.
The dark side is something most people would disapprove of and that’s why you keep it hidden. But you’re not ashamed of it because that’s who you are.
Use that dark side to keep pushing forward. Here are some examples of dark sides:
- Thirst for power
- Craving for winning
- Need to proving yourself
Turning Pain Into Fuel
Take that pain and instead of wallowing in it and becoming a passive victim use it.
Use it as catalyst for change, as your dark side reservoir and as fuel for action.
And whenever you’re depleted, tap into it:
- Thank you dad for telling me I’d never amount to anything, this last set is for yout
- Your ex dumped for a richer guy. These last 10 approaches are to show her you can get better
- “You’re a social retard”, told you your ex teacher. Your social transformation is proving her wrong
Remember: smooth sailing rarely carried anyone to greatness. But men are born and characters are forged in your darkest hours.
Pain, anger and dark sides are great tools for superior achievement. However, you can’t be motivated by dark forces for your whole life. You might achieve more, but at the heavy cost of an unhappy, unfulfilling life.
The idea is to use anger, pain and negative emotions, not to be used by them.
To do so, you should reach a balance of being 80% motivated and inspired by beauty and 20% using your dark side and anger.
Note: This post is part of the series Social Mastery Guide