Forget Failures, How Can You Learn From Your Success?

celebrate success

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey


Did you know that on average, 95% of the 60,000 thoughts we have each day are repetitive and that of those habitual thoughts, 80% of those are negative?

That equates to over 45,000 of the same negative thoughts on repeat in our head each and every day. That’s a LOT of useless stuff to recycle over and over again.

(side note: If you’re like me, right now you’re quickly analyzing that stat in your head trying to figure out the last time you had a negative thought, and what it was. You may even think that you’re an exception to this because you tend to be a fairly positive person. #amiright?)

Here’s the thing; for most of us, those thoughts are habitual. We don’t even know that we are doing it. We may not even remember what those thoughts are, no matter how hard we try.

So then, if we are having all of these negative thoughts that we aren’t even aware of, how can we try and change it?

(One great way to do this is through meditation, but I’ll save that topic for another post.)

Recently I received an email from a mentor and Life Coach Rich Litvin, who brought this idea up through the topic of success.

Throughout life, we are trained to look for the lessons in our failures. We learn to dig deep into what went wrong and what could we do better next time.

You know the quote “Failure is success if we learn from it.”

In his email, Rich suggested that instead of asking what can you learn from your failures, instead ask, “What can I learn from my success?” Turn the questions around from a negative, into a positive.

Usually, we go to ask what went wrong.
What if instead, you look at what you’ve done right?

  • What did you do or say that worked?
  • What motivated you?
  • How can you replicate it?

I think the message here is powerful. Science has already proven that we can retrain our brains, and this is an excellent example of a way to start that process. By consciously choosing on what we are focusing on, and the questions we ask ourselves (another great headway into a conversation on meditation practice).

Stop choosing to focus on the negative.

As we wrap up yet another year, use this time to reflect on all of your accomplishments from 2016. Everything you have accomplished. Consider nothing is too small or insignificant to make this list.

Here’s a list of random examples I came up with to get your brain waves going;

Paid off the credit card
Built an art studio
Quit the job that was making me unhappy
Took 1 hour a week out for myself
Went on that trip I’ve been dreaming about
Walked more
Brought lunch to work every day

Start today! Take some time to recount and create a running list every success you have had this year. Write it down on your phone, your computer or a notepad. Every time you think of something, jot it down.

Once you have your list complete, go through and just think of each accomplishment that you have had and ask yourself those same reflective questions;

  • What did you do or say that worked that helped you accomplish this?
  • What motivated you?
  • How can you replicate it?

We tend to move through life without taking time out to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. Instead, we just check it off the list and immediately start thinking about the next thing we need to work on.

Just for a minute, be proud of yourself. Don’t worry; it doesn’t mean that you’re cocky, full of yourself or egotistical. It means that you have worked your ass off to accomplish something, and you deserve 5-minutes of self-appreciation for it.

It is proven that the amount of time you spend thinking happy thoughts evoke feelings of calm and peace. Don’t you deserve to enjoy those feelings? (trick question, because the answer is of course you do!)

Over time and with a little patience, see if you can change some of those repetitive thoughts to positive.