Don’t Make Yourself Wrong

When we fail to meet our own benchmarks, standards, and expectations, we’re usually the first to put ourselves down. We’re our own worst critics. We chastise ourselves and then get into a funk because we make out like we’re stupid, lazy, worthless, etc. What stops us in moving forward in completing tasks is that we get down on ourselves for having failed at a portion of the task—an interim deadline, unsatisfactory work on a portion of the project, inability to locate needed materials, negative feedback, etc. The key to moving forward after not producing a result is to set another benchmark and to look at what it would take to meet it.

If I don’t finish writing a chapter one day because I chose to go for a walk with a girlfriend, go grocery shopping, and visit a family member in the hospital, then I simply acknowledge that I didn’t finish the chapter. Provided that exercising, grocery shopping, and visiting were legitimate priorities, then the situation is what it is. I focus on the facts of the situation, rather than making myself wrong. What I will look at doing is making time in my schedule the next day for writing. For example, I may reschedule an appointment that I had booked for the next day, and that is not a priority, so that I can complete the chapter.

Stop beating yourself up. If athletes made themselves out to be failures every time they made a mistake or fell short of a goal, they would never make the Olympics. We beat ourselves down so often to the point that we cannot peel ourselves off the ground to keep plugging away. We lose excitement and steam and decide things are too hard, or that we are not cut out for it, or it’s not the right time. Rather than beating yourself up, simply look at whether you got something done or not. Make a new deadline with a stronger commitment and better plan to achieve it if you didn’t.


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