I overheard Aisling on a call to her Dad and I heard him say. Emotion is the Handmaid of Failure…
He went on to say that when he was cycling competitively that he never allowed himself to throw his hands in the air when winning a stage or race because subconsciously it might cause him to take his eye off the ball. Thus settle for that result alone rather than focusing on what needed to be done to achieve the next level of success.
For anyone that knows me well. They know that hearing something like this will send my brain into overdrive. That I would need to do some research on such an idea!
So that exactly what I did. To start off I know Sé a long time and would be fairly aufait with his ways of doing things etc. After hearing what he said about emotions it did strike me that in any serious conversations I have ever had with him that he tends to remove emotion from the discussion and very clearly focuses on the facts. On the other hand I really do focus on the emotions. As in what makes someone feel the way they do. My wife would debate this fact with me, she feels I just look as things as black and white, no grey area. The black and white thing for me is more about rules. I like rules – and they are there to be adhered to. I have a dislike for anyone that pushes beyond the rules.
Having this information to hand it made my research a little bit more interesting. As I would be able to read it from both sides of the fence so to speak.
Here are a few of the things that struck me:
Failure can distort our reality:
When we fail at doing something we have the ability to make the task that we failed, appear bigger than it actually was. This can then cause us to give up and not have another go. Because “it was too difficult anyway” and thus be happy with giving up. Its the emotion or feeling of failure that causes us to distort the reality.
Experts say that when we fail at something we should break the failure down into what we can control and what is out of our control. Once we do that we should then break down what we can control and put a plan together on what we need to improve. This then gives us CONTROL over having another go and if we fail – we know what to work on more. If we succeed then we know EXACTLY what we had to do to achieve that success. It wasn’t just a fluke.
Fear of Failure
The issue that I would find more important is the Fear of Failure. When we fail it can lead to a future fear of failure. And even worse again this fear of failure can be transferred to our children. The fear can be subconscious too. So you end up with kids fearing exams in case they don’t do well. The overthinking of the fear takes concentration off the task at hand and can cause a failure.
We need to make sure our children embrace failure for what it is. An opportunity to learn. An opportunity to control what they CAN ACTUALLY control. Give them the ability to relax going into an exam etc. We should support them in learning and studying.
So in my conclusion I don’t think necessarily Emotion is the handmaid of failure. It’s more that someone like Sé can actually differentiate between what he can and can’t control. He knows he can control his training regime. He can focus on that and build on it – making it easier to succeed at the next stage. The past success is a building block to the next.
You can read more about Sé on The Lemonade Kart – HERE
Or about his cycling HERE