I've been referencing this quote a lot lately so I thought I'd put it here to call attention to it. I've loved this quote and have tried to live my life by it from the very first time it was shown to me back in high school wrestling:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena...
... whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
Here's a short article that provides a little historical context.
So many of us feel like shameful failures when we put effort into things and do not get our desired results.
You can be disappointed, displeased, or upset...
You can feel motivated to try harder or do better next time...
You can even feel guilty if you know you chose a less-optimal course of action in the hopes of taking shortcuts or making your life easier...
Each of these feelings will lead you to update your process and re-apply yourself to the task at hand in a more effective manner.
But shame and feeling like a failure are totally NOT helpful and only slow your progress further because they cause you to STOP taking action, or to take LESS healthy action.
The quote above shows us that shame and failure in the face of a continuous effort do not make sense - the credit belong to the people that are actually striving for something! The people who are putting an effort into improvement! They deserve praise and credit just for trying. Because without trying, there can be no result.
We have to remember to reward ourselves simply for trying - if we don't do that, it's so much harder to maintain the kind of consistency necessary for the achievement of large goals.
We get points just for trying - just for following the right process or authentically seeking out the right process (vs researching as an excuse to delay actually taking action).
So why feel shame? When we try to follow our processes, we are already doing what we're supposed to be doing - if you're doing what you are supposed to do, why feel shame? Give yourself more credit.
At the same time, we must remain focused on the PROCESS if we really hope to get CONSISTENT results. The process is itself INHERENTLY a trial and error/guess and test process. Error and "failure" are expected outcomes, and we expect to encounter them much more often than success.
So if "failure" is the most commonly expected result, is it really fair to feel bad about it? Or would it make more sense to stop thinking of it as failure, and instead see it as the default state of the SKILL AQUISITION PROCESS ?
Until you achieve "Mastery" - regardless of how you're defining it - mistakes and undesirable results should be expected as a perfectly natural and non-problematic aspect of trying to learn something new, or getting yourself to act differently/more effectively.
Shame? That belongs to anyone who dares to criticize your virtuous efforts. They should be ashamed of themselves for allowing their own personal fears to manifest as discouragement towards their fellow human.
And failure? Well you're guaranteed to fail at every task that you do not try. The bigger failure is not the person who has to try 1000 times to be successful. The bigger failure is the person who WANTS but does not DO. Who quits early. Who does not STRIVE.
So get out there and try!