How to Ruin Your Relationship (and Still End Up “Lucky in Love”)

The Master and the BeginnerThere’s an old saying: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

In other words, failing is a part of the journey that transforms you into a master (at anything).

Like her or not, you may know the name Arianna Huffington. She’s the editor-in-chief and President of The Huffington Post. What you may not know is that long before she founded one of the most successful news sites on the internet, her second book was rejected by publishers a whopping 36 times.

That’s right. Her second book. Her first book had been a success, and still no one wanted to publish the second. Talk about a crippling blow.

But, here’s what she says about the low points of her career:

“My mother instilled in me that failure was not something to be afraid of, that it was not the opposite of success. It was a stepping stone to success. So I had no fear of failure. Perseverance is everything. I don’t give up. Everybody has failures, but successful people keep on going…”

Everybody has failures, but successful people keep on going.

I’ve heard people take that idea even a step further, claiming there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. I don’t agree with that completely, but I do think it’s best to live each day as though it were true.

Here’s what I mean. If you act like failure is only feedback, you can tolerate a lot more failed attempts without feeling emotionally deflated.

After all, most of us are pretty hard on ourselves when we feel like we missed the mark. But when you tell yourself there’s no such thing as failure, just feedback, it’s easier to allow yourself to make a few mistakes.

Which is good, because mistakes are inevitable. Especially in relationships.

Plus, this approach puts you in a great mental place to learn. Instead of wasting energy criticizing yourself, you can channel your curiosity. The situation itself becomes your teacher. What might have left you feeling embarrassed, ashamed, angry, or hurt becomes an opportunity to grow.

For example, do you find guys confusing and frustrating? Don’t let that discouragement make you feel like a failure. Resolve to become a master, both of understanding and of being understood.

Each time you feel confused by the guy in your life, learn from the situation. What created the confusion? What perspective does he have that led to his actions? Is there anything you can do to bridge the gap between his point of view and yours?

Keep in mind that you’re likely to “fail” a few times before you have a major breakthrough. But that’s okay. It just means you’re learning and growing.

There’s no reason to be afraid of failure. Even the most celebrated people in the world failed plenty before they found success. Instead of beating yourself up, try to view the ups and downs of trial and error as a learning process.

As James Joyce said, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” What will you discover today?

James


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5 thoughts on “How to Ruin Your Relationship (and Still End Up “Lucky in Love”)

  1. Julie said:

    James, I love what you have said here. This is something that I think many people might forget when they are going through hard times, times of change or growth, or new opportunities. The fear of trying and failing, or failure itself can really be devastating and keep you stuck in place for long amounts of time. Unable to make a decision, letting new dreams just fade. Arianna Huffington is a very wise woman and i do agree with her that failure is not the opposite of success. Just that change in perspective can be the difference between being ordinary or being extraordinary! Nobody is successful without failures. Thank you for that reminder. I have been reading your newsletter for a long time and really love your work, and not just because i agree with you all the time, ha ha! Thank you for all that you do.
    Many Blessings to you,
    Julie

  2. Sally said:

    This came just in my inbox today and it seems to be perfect timing for me. It’s time for me to give annual reviews of my two male employees. I am looking to try and change their behaviors and motivate them to work. I was headed in the direction of criticizing their errors and lack of ability to listen to me. I had written a very bad review pointing out all of the failures of one gentleman in particular, but knowing I was a tad harsh decided to sleep on it and try again today. On my way into work I started listening to “How to win friends and influence people” By Dale Carnegie. This message from James has helped me to realize my own failures and how they have affected my employees! I see now that I can not motivate change in this way. Pointing out others failures will only make them feel worse. I am going to try something different and point out their accomplishments. I am going to recognize where they have succeeded and met or exceeded my expectations. I want them to feel that I do notice the good things they are doing and improving on them. I will admit my failures today and I will learn from them and move forward rather then stay stuck.
    Thank you for your messages. I very much enjoy all of them.

    • James Bauer said:

      Sally, you are an inspiration. I wish more leaders were like you.

      James

  3. Priscilla said:

    James, this is such great advice. Timing is impeccable. I’ve been spending the last month extremely frustrated by a situation and was seriously beginning to believe that I’m just a huge failure at this whole dating thing. It’s not a good place to be in. Feels terrible. But you’re right, I should take this opportunity to learn why things aren’t turning out, where the miscommunication lies, and how I can become better at dating. I do believe certain people come in to your life for a reason. If I can view the trials and tribulations of dating as a learning process to prepare me for “The One”, it makes dating way less stressful! Thank you again!

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