Richard Dama, LPC, Counseling & Clinical Hypnotherapy

Observe, Analyze, Overcome

This morning I would like to talk about failure.

Let’s agree at the outset that nobody likes to or plans to fail. We all have great plans, grand dreams and heartfelt aspirations. But how many people do you know who actually reach their goals, let alone realizing their true potential as human beings and sovereign consciousness? I’d wager, not many…perhaps including yourself. So then, why is true happiness and fulfillment so rare?
Because most people lack the energy, foresight or resolve to actually work through the snags and SNAFUs that will inevitably arise. They form and settle on a plan, but stick to it blindly, refusing to alter their course regardless of the circumstances. Big mistake!

Take it from someone who has been on the field when the Universe showed us that it didn’t care how carefully we crafted or rehearsed an operation. To grossly simplify the example, no matter how much we wanted a subject to go left, they would invariably go right and then we would have to scramble to adjust (we DO plan for basic contingencies like this, but it serves the example.)

My dad was an officer during WWII and (going to his annual Battalion reunions every year as a kid I learned he) was loved and respected by the men he led. When I went off to Officer Candidate School, he told me “When you get to your unit, find the oldest most crusty Master Sergeant in your unit and stick your hands in your pockets, shut your mouth and follow them around for three months before you touch anything or say anything that isn’t a question.” Some of the best advice I was ever given.

My grumpy old Mentor taught me two invaluable axioms:

  1. Always form a firm plan of action considering as many changing variables as possible and practical.
  2. When your plan turns to shit (and it will) Observe, Adapt and Overcome.

The key to success is not not failing; or not taking setbacks as failure. It only becomes failure when you quit trying. Snags in the plan can actually be helpful as they force one to reassess and redeploy their assets. Then get up, return fire and advance.

Unfortunately, too many people start out on their path, then encounter an obstacle and then quit because their plan collapsed or the path upward is too steep. They let one ‘failure’ define their sense of self and their worldview.

I do not endorse any religion. As a person with a very advanced academic degree in Ancient Religions, I can say that I have found truth and obfuscation in every religion since the beginning of time. One of the great truths I have discovered in Hinduism is the story of Krishna, especially as found in the 2 million word Sanskrit epic, The Mahabharata.

On their blog Project Yourself, the authors remind us of Krishna’s wisdom:
“When a mountaineer climbs up to the peak of a mountain for the first time, was it the plans that he had made at the bottom of the mountain that carried him to the top? No, it does not. In reality, as the mountaineer keeps climbing up, he faces different challenges and obstacles. At every step, he makes the decision for his next step. He has to change his plans at every step. The plan that worked for the last step may fail him miserably on the next. He cannot make the mountain worthy of him, he can only make himself worthy of the mountain.”

So, the question ultimately becomes one of “Are you going to let adversity and setbacks define you, or are you committed and flexible enough to observe, adapt and overcome? Are you trying to force the mountain to be worthy of you, or are you allowing yourself to change to become worthy of the mountain? Only you hold that answer.

Here’s hoping you have an intentionally great and flexible day.





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