“if you fail at first, it is time to redefine success!”, someone I know jokes regularly.
I think most of us would approach it as, “if you fail, get up and try again”. That’s both the essence of being resilient and the reality that it is unrealistic to get it right the first time. We need to learn and adapt.
There is, however, some truth to rethinking the paradigm at some point, the way you define success. Emotionally and mentally, everyone gets to a time where it does make sense to reassess.
When is that time? Someone dear to me expressed it this way,
“When life hands you repeated failures in exchange for the hardest work you have ever done in a particular area, you need a new paradigm”
This may be onto something. Hard work doesn’t equal success. It is part of it.. but succeeding is much more complex. Our ability to claim victory or success on any meaningful task/project/endeavor is highly tied to not just the goals being accomplished but the motives and a larger meaning in our personal lives.
Did we define success too narrow? Too broad? Too dependent on things that we never really have control or influence over? Did we take it too personal instead of just taking it seriously? Was the timeframe realistic? Did we lose the clarity of what it was? Did we changed internally but never reflected that change into what we were chasing?
The list of questions can go on. What is useful is the way we could use those questions and other tools from people who have been in similar situations to help us assess for ourselves.
Some tools include books titles like:
The Dip, which attempts to help us decipher whether to continue or to stop.
When things fall apart, that tries to help us understand what do we cling on to and why.
There is the perennial 7 habits of highly effective people that lay the foundations of paradigms.
Leadership and Self Deception that asks us to honor a deeper sense of the moment before we choose to ignore ourselves and then rationalize our existence.
There are other resources that many can offer us to access if a new paradigm is needed. If none of that works, maybe Kenny Rogers in The Gambler can remind us that “we got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away and know when to run… Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’ is knowing what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep. ‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hands a loser”