When is SOMETHING Better than NOTHING?

When is SOMETHING Better than NOTHING?

By: Deb Maes
April 17, 2013

The number one most permeating problem that we face is ‘fear of failure’.


Our whole society, including the school system, helps create and support this problem.  How?  We reward and acknowledge only ‘the right’ result and often inadvertently we ignore or punish what we consider ‘failed’ attempts.

There’re two problems with this.  One problem is: the external endorsement becomes so reinforcing that we try to get everything ‘right’.  This can cause us to stall, waiting to work out what is the ‘right’ thing to do.

This isn’t how progress is made.  Think of Thomas Edison.  It is a famous example of how experimenting, before even knowing, leads to getting results.  Who knows how many experiments he conducted?  Some say 1,000, others say over 3,000 and I have even heard 10,000.  But, Edison is reported to say, ‘I had no failed attempts’.  Each experiment he did gave him more feedback and informed his next attempt.  What would have happened if he took no action until he knew he was going to get ‘the right result’?  We’d not have the light bulb when we did.

Psychological research shows how external (extrinsic) rewards can not only be reinforcing, it can also reduce our internal (intrinsic) motivation.  This means that because someone else and not our self is saying this or that is good, we can start to need or expect this endorsement from others, rather than looking to our self to monitor and evaluate our performance.

The important thing is to be free to ‘have a go’.  Do something  – anything – that will create results, and then monitor the results to make adjustment as you go along.

The other problem with trying to do ‘the right’ thing first is that you can’t take advantage of motion.  Think of a stopped truck.  If you need to turn it to take a new direction, how hard is it to turn it when the wheels are not moving?  But, if you just get it going – even if it is pointed in the wrong direction, as the wheels move, you have less friction and some momentum, which you can use to help change of direction, right?

So the important question is; how can you continue to allow yourself to be free to just take action and use the feedback to adjust, even more, as you …THINK ABOUT THAT NOW’?

This success strategy – Openness to Feedback – is just one of the 50 Indispensable Elements of Success in Your Success Code, our online mindset gym.

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When is SOMETHING Better than NOTHING?

Author spotlight:

Deb Maes

Deb Maes excels at coaching community leaders and her highest vision is to serve the most influential people on the planet. She has experienced many things that have led to her becoming the conscious and compelling coach she is today. In her memoir "Through My Eyes: From Struggle to Joy" she shares her journey to becoming the resilient, compassionate, and grateful woman she is today. In addition to...