No Failure No Success

No failure, no success – why learning to accept failure as a teach tool can help you become your best self.

As a personal rule of thumb, I like to set goals and do my best to achieve them. I, like many of you, don’t see them all into reality. And you know what? That’s okay.

Or at least it is nowadays. But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, I had a terrible reaction to it. If I could compare it to someone who has a severe allergic reaction to a sting, let’s say, it would be that intense. “I am a failure.” I would continuously say to myself.

While I obviously didn’t go into anaphylactic shock, my reaction could be just as intense. Anger? Boy, would I get after myself. So much so, I would say it was irrational. “I hate myself” was a phrase I repeated on the hour, daily.

My advice to anyone saying these things is to stop. As you may or may not know, saying such one-liners will become you – you will become them.

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Over the years, I have often asked myself, “What’s causing me to react this way?” I thought if I could answer this question, then I could fix it somehow. What I have concluded is this: if one grows up all their lives going to school in a system that tells you “You can’t do it,” you start to believe it. Or like I said early, you become your thoughts.

While it’s true that I became the product of what the people around me communicated, I also learned that we are not made of stone. Moreover, we don’t have to end up being the narrative they hammered into us.

So then, how do we one redefine ourselves? Well, at its core, we need to do the opposite. Always feeling like a failure, for example? Slowly work in doing these things:

  • Make a list of all your accomplishments. Do this when you are not in a failure mindset. You now have a base for telling yourself the truth. Especially helpful when you’re being hard on yourself. Firstly, understand that accomplishments can be small but mighty. So, be it video games or snowboarding, if you love doing them, you’re succeeding. When you feel like a failure, dig out your list and read it to yourself. You’ll feel the opposite of a failure.
  • Recognize the voice in your head that says “I’m gonna fail’ whenever you try something new. Find yourself saying this to yourself? When you hear it, be contrary and do a new task anyway.
  • Ask yourself “What have I learned from my attempt?” Sure, it may not have gone as planned, but what’s the takeaway? In every downfall, there is something positive; you only need to look
  • Avoid the “yeah buts.” Some of us, myself included, can often find the silver lining in a botched attempt, only to have the words yeah but fall out of our faces. But why is saying “yeah but” so dangerous to our growth? Well, take this example and think on it: “Yes, I failed at learning to dance but I at least I made a friend.” Yeah but, I spent sooo much money.” See what happened there? You went from seeing that you made a positive connection and right back down the negativity rabbit hole.
  • Absorb the learning curve and move on to a new adventure. Once we have a so called “failed attempt” out of the way, the world once again becomes our classroom – so, get on it.

Chapter One

Monster A Precursor For Illness

it’s difficult to say when my dance with the mental-illness devil began. I think back to being around four years old, when I had this thing about holding the doors open for people. It was almost like a contest with myself to see how much I could do it and how helpful I could be. “I will, I will!” But now I’m wondering if I was opening the door to something terrible, dark and unseen, something that would almost destroy my life – and certainly change it forever.

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And it was invisible. I’m sure that had I been able to see it, I would have slammed the door shut, even at four years old. If it had claws, a long scaly tail, terrible teeth, angry eyes, mouth breathing stinking fire…yes, I like to think that even at that tender age, my instinct would have been to stop it coming in.

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Nowadays, I have given myself permission to be kinder to the human I am. We need to be. Because if we are anything, we are very susceptible to errors. And thank the gods we are, because human’s mistakes early on, got us to where we are today.

So, give that some thought. You are not just you; you are also a member of a species that F*&^ks up. Therefore, you’re not unique in this trial-and-error game of life.

Finally, accomplishments are sweeter when you fail. If it were easy, how much would you value when you reach your end goal? My feeling is, you would have no reference (failures) to assign value to success you have.

So, get out there, stumble and fall while learning to dance, break things as you learn to fix them, but must importantly, fix your mindset. You will live a happier life. And remember: no failure, no success!

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No Failure, no Success

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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