This week’s question from our portal “Ask Us Anything” comes from Tsao.
My question is about failure and being disappointed when I fail. There are certain things I do to measure my progress. For instance, when I’m cooking dinner, I’ll research every kind of recipe and try different variations of it. If the recipe fails, I don’t get upset about it—instead, I’ll just say, “Okay, I need to adjust this next time.”
But for other things, like in business, I notice if I’m expecting a certain result and it doesn’t happen, I’ll feel disappointed. I’ll start getting tripped up about “how” to do something and what the next steps are. I’ll get very muddled and murky in my thinking about it.
Should I be viewing every failure as something that’s just part of the process? Is that the correct way to view it and the right attitude to have towards it?
Yes. I think one of the greatest things people can do to keep themselves happy, joyful, and uplifted about the work they’re doing—is to be detached from doing what it takes to get it done.
It’s going to take whatever it takes.
We shouldn’t really have disappointment in our life. Disappointment’s a weird thing. Why would a person be disappointed? Probably because they have an unreasonable expectation of what they want the outcome to be.
If you have an unreasonable expectation of the outcome, ask yourself…why is that? Take responsibility for the fact that you had an unreasonable expectation for an outcome. How did it become unreasonable?
If you want to change the feeling of disappointment, you have to look at what’s causing it.
What’s causing you to feel disappointment?
An unreasonable expectation is causing it.
So, ask yourself: “Why is my expectation unreasonable?” Then ask yourself, “What about it is causing the problem?”
For most people, it has to do with some kind of magical thinking. They don’t want to think about the cause and effect of their outcome. They want to overestimate something. They expect something from someone else that they really shouldn’t be expecting—because they haven’t done the work to qualify the person.
We can always find the place in our mind where we’re not thinking correctly about what we’re doing… and that ends up leading to disappointment.
I would suggest you detach from the “how.” Stop worrying about how you’re going to do something. Let the way unfold. Do whatever you have to do in order to get the outcome you want…and you won’t feel disappointment.
If you’re making dinner and you’re working with a difficult recipe in order to get it the meal you want, you might have to try 10 recipes, or 10 different attempts.
Just detach from the idea like, “Hey, what I ultimately want is this result. So if whether have to try 10 recipes or 100 recipes to get it, I’m willing to do that.”
If you get disappointed during the process, ask yourself, “What’s really disappointing me about this?” It’s probably that you’re inappropriately attaching some kind of self-identity or security to something.