Are you ok when things don’t work out? Do you simply move on as if nothing happened? I guess not. More than likely you suffer, you feel bitter, disappointed, anxious, resentful, worried and depressed. But what if you could avoid all of that? What if you could simply move on from failure as if nothing happened? Keep reading, as I am about to explain how to most effectively prepare for none of it to work and go on undeterred, as if success happened.
Suffering and disappointment are optional
We usually suffer when we get offended, disapproved of, rejected, criticized, when we feel left out, and when we fail (the list of course is much bigger but you get the point). But where does suffering stem from and who is actually experiencing it? The answer: the big fat Ego.
The ego is the only thing that is capable of experiencing suffering. Here is how it works: the bigger the ego, the bigger the suffering. And how do you end up with a big ego? Quite simply, you feed it. So let’s paraphrase: the more you feed the ego, the more you suffer.
A note of caution: you may think that your ego isn’t that big since you lack self-confidence, you easily feel intimidated, you are eager to please, and you clearly have an inferiority complex. The thing is, if you are experiencing suffering, then your ego is just as big as that of someone who is often rude, over-confident, confrontational and feels superior. If there is suffering there is always a big ego involved, whether you feel inferior or superior.
Right, let’s reiterate: to stop suffering you simply need to stop feeding the ego. Importantly, your ego gets its biggest (and most definitely junk) meals during success. So success is the time when you need to starve your ego. This means that every time you get praised, approved of, achieve a goal, or get some other external cause for feeling great, you need to stay away from the temptation to pat yourself on the back. Do not think that you had anything to do with your success. Never take credit for the things that turn out well in your life (or else you are feeding the ego). Be humble and practice GRATITUDE instead. Understand that life flows through you, not because of you. This way you keep your ego small and you are less likely to suffer when failure comes. Remember: the smaller the ego, the smaller the suffering.
Importantly, failure will come for sure, and soon. One of the laws of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, success brings failure, failure brings success. And the more you rejoice in success (thereby feeding your ego), the more you will suffer during failure. Of course, the ego wants you to believe that YOU achieved all those great things. But taking credit for them only strengthens the ego and intensifies the suffering during your upcoming failure. So resist temptation. Don’t feed the disease. Prevent it while you are in a positive frame of mind (i.e. in times of success). Sober up. Stay neutral. Remain humble and grateful. It is much easier to control yourself when things are going well than in times of failure. Therefore, do the work beforehand and you won’t have to deal with disappointment and suffering later on.
Oh, wait! But what about the quest for approval that most of us are constantly driven by? Well, that has to be the worst, most unproductive thing to strive for. Approval is sure to lead you to your demise, and quickly. It is the root of all suffering and you should neither be looking for it, nor taking it (let alone basking in it when you do get it). Being fooled by approval strengthens the ego and intensifies your suffering at your next failure. So stay cool. Be grateful. By saying No to approval you say Yes to happiness.