Do You Avoid Failure Like the Plague?

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“You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”–Mary Pickford, 1893-1979, Actress and producer There are two kinds of people: those who focus on avoiding failure, and those who focus on learning and growth. Dr. Carol Dweck, in “Mindset”, one of my favorite books, names these two ways of approaching life “the fixed mindset” and “the growth mindset.”  In Inner Bonding®, we call it “the intent to protect” and “the intent to learn.” In my personal experience, we cannot learn and grow when we are focused on protecting against mistakes and failure. When we have the false belief that mistakes and failure define us, rather than that mistakes and failure are stepping-stones to success, then we continually limit our learning and growth to avoid making mistakes and failing. This is dramatically exemplified by an example in Dr. Dweck’s book. She tells the story of George Danzig, a graduate math student at Berkeley, who, as usual, was late for class. On the board were two math problems, and this young man, having missed the explanation, assumed they were the homework. When he tried to do them, he discovered that they were REALLY REALLY hard.

Rather than get discouraged and quit, which a person with a fixed mindset would do, i.e., a person with the intent to protect against failure – he got down to work and within a few days he solved the problems. When he next came into class, he discovered that these problems were NOT homework – they were famous examples of two problems that had never been solved! This young man had a growth mindset – the intent to learn – and loved the challenge! For people like George Danzig, failure is not a blip on his screen. His thinking is not about protecting against failure, but about the challenge of learning.

How Would Your Life Change?

What would happen in your life if you made it okay to make mistakes and to fail? What would you do differently in your life if you let go of seeing failure as something bad, and instead decided to see it as just a part of learning and growing? The truth is that there is no way to move toward being all you came here to be without mistakes and failures along the way. How would you learn what you are capable of if you allow failure to stop you? What would happen in your life if you stopped telling yourself that if you fail at something then you ARE a failure? Right now, in this very moment, are you willing to redefine failure? Are you willing to define failure as part of learning rather than a definition of your worth or your intelligence? Are you willing to see mistakes and failure as just part of the learning we all need to do as we move ourselves toward growth and success?

When you make it okay to make mistakes and to fail, then you are free to try new things, to experiment, and to feel the joy and excitement of new learning and growth. You have the freedom and the right, RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT, to take the “badness” off failure and see it as just a part of learning and of success. How wonderful would you feel right now if you decided that it is okay to make mistakes and to fail? How free would you feel if you accepted that we all fail at times as we open ourselves to learning new and exciting things? Try it! Now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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