Forget Failure – Remember Success

Like a computer, your brain learns by forgetting failure and remembering success.

Practice improves skill and success in sports, music, art and even sales, but not because repetition has any value in itself. If we learned simply by repetition, we would learn our mistakes instead of our successes.

For example, someone learning to pitch a softball misses the strike zone more often than she hits it. If mere repetition were the answer to improved skill, her practice would make her more expert at missing since that’s what she’s “practiced” most. However, although her misses may outnumber hits ten to one, through practice her misses gradually diminish and hits come more and more frequently. This is because the computer in her brain remembers and reinforces her successful attempts and forgets the misses. (paraphrased from “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S.)

That’s the way both a computer and our own inner “success mechanism” learn to succeed.

  1. Determine what “success” looks like
  2. Evaluate the results of the movements made
  3. Throw out the movements that resulted in misses
  4. Retain the movements that resulted in success

Repeat, repeat, repeat, until eventually the brain is able to reproduce success, repeatedly.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed in the past.
What matters is the successful attempt, which should be remembered, reinforced, and dwelt upon.
– Maxwell Maltz

TargetThink of a heat-seeking missile. It is programmed with a target. It seeks that target. It is constantly evaluating its position relative to the target. Whenever it notices that it’s “off target”, it changes something in its navigation to, once again, be “on target”. It uses the “failure” to redirect itself to success.

The same is true of your inner computer. “Failures” are simply data that is fed back into the navigation system which then recalculates how to get to the target. Your inner computer’s target is whatever you consistently and intently talk about and think about. You get to choose it. The inner seeking mechanism is constantly seeking a target.

The target you are currently headed to is either consciously or unconsciously selected. If you are simply living your life, taking it one day at a time, doing activities as they come up, you are likely headed to an unconsciously determined target. When you are consciously directing your thoughts and your inner vision, then you have a consciously determined target. Which do you prefer?

Coach’s Challenge

Use mistakes and misses as a way to learn; then dismiss them from your thinking – forget them!

Deliberately remember and picture your successes. Cancel out and stop any thoughts of the failures. Your inner computer has already used that failure to redirect your actions to success. The inner computer has already deleted it; it’s time for you to let it go, too. Let it go by stopping yourself when you are tempted to think or speak about it.

Consciously determine your target by getting clear on a detailed vision of your desired life and practicing that vision until it is clear and real, filled with emotion and detail.

Suggested Resource

Visioning your desired life is a main goal of my coaching groups. Whether it’s recreating life after divorce, growing your business, or designing an awesome life, these groups can help. Contact me to discuss which group can help you get your desired result.