Oops to Eureka
By Dr. Peggy Marshall
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly”
I am working on a presentation for our team on Happiness using the book “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. This blog will focus on one specific chapter entitled “Falling Up” which discusses the opportunity to turn failure into success. As a coach I have had many clients, in fact most of my clients, have faced some type of adversity which they believed created a failure for them. The clients who were able to see the opportunity in the challenge rather than looking at it from the perspective of total failure were able to make the most progress with turning the opportunity in to a future success. In Improv, this realization is called “Oops to Eureka”. What we think of as our greatest failure can sometimes be turned into a great success.
Achor tells us that there are three potential outcomes when facing challenging times. People can get stuck in neutral not experience change and possibly continue to face the challenge with no movement. A second outcome is to let the event drag you down even further. Finally the third potential outcome is to use the event to become even stronger and more capable than before the event occurred. He cautions us that when we are facing adversity, we often loose perspective and stop believing that the third outcome is possible. It is this very ability to not find your self lost in the challenge that determines whether you can actually rise above or become immobilized by the challenge.
This is a very different way to position failure in our lives. We have been taught from birth that we have to avoid failure at all costs. But the truth is that even the greats have failed at something. Michael Jordon was cut from his high school basketball team, Thomas Edison failed with the first 99 attempts at the light bulb, the first book written by Dr. Seuss was rejected 27 times, and Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination. What we have learned from these individuals and many others that it’s not simply the event or challenge that determines our future, rather it is what we say about it. Anchor describes this process as explanatory style.
People with optimistic explanatory styles are able to move through challenges more quickly and are able to achieve success and happiness sooner. How do you know whether you have an optimistic or pessimistic explanatory style? Ask yourself, when something unpleasant or challenging enters your live, how do you explain it to your friends. Do you go into limitless detail about how awful the event is or do you think about how you are going to deal with it successfully? Also, check in with your own beliefs. Do you believe that this is he absolute worse thing that could happen to you and find yourself in a period f helplessness or do you determine a strategy to help move away from the
Knowing that students and athletes with optimistic xplanatory styles do better on tests and outperform opponents can challenge us o think differently about our mistakes, failures, obstacles and dsappointments.
This month as you encounter life’s setbacks, challenge yourself to think and talk differently about the setback !
To Your Success,