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  • Denis Boucher

We Don't Succeed By Trying To Avoid Failure

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

By Denis Boucher, Ph.D.


Everyone wants to reach goals. Therefore, our thoughts are directed towards achieving these goals. Because we want to attain them, they are essential to us. They may come from a personal choice, from our upbringing, or be imposed in some way by family or society.

The way we think about these goals can take two very different directions:

1. To achieve a goal, I try to avoid failing.
2. To achieve a goal, I plan the steps that will allow me to reach it.

These two approaches imply different consequences and behaviors. For example, if I focus on avoiding failure, I have negative, disorganized thoughts about my chances of success. This is noise in my head. Instead of focusing on the actions that move me forward, I get lost trying to free myself from these negative thoughts that invade my mind.

If I plan the steps that allow me to reach a goal, then I organize my thoughts and behaviors. I think effectively and act accordingly. It's no longer mental noise. My ideas flow, generate productive behaviors, produce positive results, and ultimately, fill me with satisfaction.

Because of their upbringing, beliefs, life experiences, and surroundings, too many people approach achieving their goals by wanting to avoid failure. Unfortunately, as you can see, this is not the most productive approach.

Changing our thinking structure and planning the steps to success takes work and effort that few people want. But, it remains one of the essential foundations of happiness.

Whatever your goal, are you trying to avoid failure, or are you planning for success?

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