Back to Square One or Back to Base Camp?

Failure is inevitable throughout life. But when failure occurs, we can sometimes think of giving up on our goals or go straight back to square one. But we don’t have to go all the way back to the start.

Instead, we can imagine it more as if we were climbing Mt. Everest and weren’t quite able to summit. Instead of going all the way down the villages at the foothills of the mountain, we can simply regroup at base camp. That way, we can stay acclimatized to the high altitude, and try again to reach the peak quickly instead of going all the way down the mountain, losing momentum and wasting energy.

When we pursue goals in life, we usually learn so many things on the journey that build on our skills, mindset and experience. Just like in mountaineering, we become acclimatized and fitter both physically and mentally. If we then fail, it doesn’t mean that all the development and progress has been completely lost – as long as we pick ourselves back up. If it’s really a worthwhile goal, have the resilience, grit, and determination not to go back to square one.

The Four Agreements: Don’t Take Anything Personally

In three years of working in door-to-door sales, I realized that there is no way of lasting as long as I have without starting to believe that rejection is not personal.

When I first started in the job I would finish work with no sales and beat myself up for the rest of the evening about it. Everyone said no to me because I sucked at speaking, I sucked at listening, and I sucked at sales. Although this was almost certainly true, it was massively disempowering and my confidence levels were in freefall.

I eventually started getting a few sales and gradually started improving. Fast forward to my attitude today and it is completely transformed. If someone says no to my offering now, I just tell myself that they didn’t want it. Of course it’s a lot easier to say that now, knowing that I have sold close to 300 security systems.

The consequence of having this present attitude is that it’s stress-free. I know who I am and I’m secure in myself. Instead of coming home with the world on my shoulders, I just know that I will put the work in and I’ll get what I get. I’ll make hay while the sun is shining, and just place one foot in front of the other when results aren’t so good. But things will come good.

Taking things personally comes from the need to be accepted, the lack of self-identification and self-confidence. Occasionally, I will knock on someone’s door that will yell expletives, and be physically and verbally threatening. I stay calm, excuse myself from the situation and carry on to the next door. I know it’s not personal. Have they slept? How is their mental health? Is he or she just a terrible person? Whatever the answers are, none of it has anything to do with me. They’ve done what they’ve done because of them.

Say if someone lies to you. You get offended, and it ruins your day, or even your week. But that person probably lies to everyone, including themselves. It’s just part of their character. They’re the common denominator. So who’s really going to suffer in the end?

To take something personally is an imbalance of self-importance. It’s likely that if the same thing happened to someone else, they wouldn’t care the slightest bit (or at least not as much). The fact that it’s happened to them magnifies and exacerbates the situation.

To take something personally is to choose suffering over peace. Next time you encounter a choice to take something personally or not, which will you choose?