“So quite often, the easiest way to get rid of a Minus, is to turn it into a Plus.” – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
I learned a valuable lesson while watching my son at fencing camp. He was dueling with a friend, whom he had met earlier in the week. They had fenced four times and each had won two matches. I was witnessing their final duel. As I watched, it occurred to me that while my son might not win the match, he was already successful.
I thought about my son and how he had spent a week improving his skills, while gaining a clearer understanding of the rules of engagement for the sport. He was better off now than when he started.
That had nothing to do with whether or not he would win the tie-breaker match between him and his newly acquired friend. In fact, their friendship was further proof that he had already succeeded.
In the end, it is success that pays more dividends than winning. After all, even among top athletes, winning a game is an experience that comes and goes. Recognizing that we are successful and honoring our success is a lasting gift that continues to grow as we move forward. Success sets the stage for the development of our character.
It is our character that allows us to endure even when certain gifts and talents wane, or if we lose interest in those things that used to be so exciting. Recognizing ourselves as successful and aiming for success allows us to transition gracefully through all of life’s twists and turns.
Success requires reflection. Sometimes we do not notice it at first. If, for example, we are acting in ways that are kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and others, our actions may not gain instant approval and applauds.
What they will do, however, is set us up for greater accomplishments in the areas that are meaningful to us. This might include more victories, more sales, or more new clients. Victory becomes a byproduct of our successful mindset.
We cannot control what happens around us. What we can do is appreciate ourselves and all that we have given, endured, and learned. We can acknowledge all the ways that we have shined, even if no one else seemed to notice. This will inevitably lead us to greater joy, which is the greatest success we can have.
I had an opportunity to put this idea into practice when my surfboard was in the shop getting repaired. I paddled out to surf on a board that is not designed for the conditions that I was surfing in. Part of me felt frustrated as I was unable to achieve the level of performance that I am used to. Then I thought about it and recognized that I could either continue to feel powerless and frustrated, or I could choose to learn something new from the experience.
As a result of choosing to learn something new, I felt successful upon exiting the water. While I did not win the prize for best surfer that day, I learned about board design and how to maximize the power that I could get out of the board I was riding. These new insights will add to my surfing immeasurably.
Take a moment to reflect on a situation that you are facing that might seem like you are losing, or coming up short with. Step back and reflect on what learning opportunities are available to you. Think about the positives that have already come from the experience. Perhaps you have been making the choice to be kind with others, even though it was not comfortable for you.
Maybe you have been treating yourself with more patience. It could also be that you have continued to show up for work, or for your friends, when you could have easily stayed home under the covers. Whatever it is, take some time to reflect on what you are learning, what you can learn, and any positive outcomes that have already occurred as a result of that situation. By doing this simple activity, you will find that you have already succeeded.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to HYPERLINK “http://www.DarrellandEd.com” www.DarrellandEd.com. Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.TappingIntoGenius.com” www.TappingIntoGenius.com for more articles and a free, inspirational parenting download.