Secrets of Magic No 46: Overcoming failure is part of the process

The world is complex. Magic teaches us a great deal about the forces that govern our lives. When we align ourselves with those forces we greatly increase our chances of obtaining our goals. However, even the most powerful, rich, healthy, and well loved among us do not always get what we want.

There are many reasons for this. One reason is that we are not alone in the world. There are millions of other people around us who also trying to get what they want. Some of their efforts conflict with some of ours. We learned this as children—sometimes our playmates got to call the game, sometimes we did.

Another reason is that our understanding of the world will always be imperfect. However much humans learn about the universe we are constantly discovering new things. There are many forces that we do not understand. No human will ever perfectly comprehend the universe. There is a saying that the map is not the territory. A map that completely explains the territory would have to be as big as the territory, an exact duplicate of it. If any one of use completely understood the universe, we would be the universe! There will always be things we don’t know.

Sometimes we don’t know what we want. Sometimes we haven’t done the groundwork necessary to achieve what we desire. We might be pushing too fast, taking steps that are too big, or we might not have cleared sufficient space for what we want to happen in our lives.

Most importantly, we fail because we are built to fail. It is how we learn. No one draws a perfect picture the first time they try. We need a great deal of practice and many false starts before we master a new skill or learn something we didn’t know before.

It is only when we attach negative feelings to failure that it becomes a liability instead of an asset. When we are afraid to fail, we are afraid to try. We stop learning, freezing up, rigidly protecting ourselves.

Failure is a great gift we give to ourselves. When we fail, it means that we have been stretching beyond the comfort zone, trying new ideas, new ways of moving in the world. Instead of closing up around failure, magic teaches us to forgive ourselves, laugh, and try again. Failure is the necessary groundwork for success.

I will continue to try until I succeed.

Practice: Examining failure
Think about a time you failed in the past. What did you do? How did you feel about it at the time? What did you learn from it? How do you feel about it now?

The next time you catch yourself thinking, “I blew that,” remind yourself that failure means that you are still learning. Examine the lesson that the failure taught you. Then you can apply that lesson when you give it another try.

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