I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Learn how to fail successfully

We all fail.  This is inevitable.  If we didn’t fail, we wouldn’t be human.  So why do we feel so bad when we fail?

Basically we are programmed to feel bad.  Society makes us think that we need to be perfect in order to succeed in life.   We are led to believe that mistakes are bad and perfection is good.  However, this is wrong.  We are all imperfect and we all make mistakes and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this!

We are taught to value what people think of us more that what we think of ourselves.  Actually we shouldn’t care what people think as long we know that we are being a good person and doing the right thing.  Just try to be a better person today than you were yesterday and stop worrying about what people think.

We are taught that winning is more important than losing.  Well someone has to lose, we can’t all win.  So instead of feeling bad for ourselves when we lose, we should be happy for those who win and congratulate them.  Winning is not all it’s cracked up to be.  People who are obsessed with winning are angry, impatient and unhappy.  What a horrible way to go through life!

We are taught to be the first in line.  Everyone can’t be first so why should the rest of us feel bad?  This is ridiculous.  If you are the 35th person, just be patient and enjoy where you are.   If you studied hard for a test and did your best but just barely passed, don’t feel like you aren’t as good as the ones who got top marks.  There is no shame in doing your best.  Just be proud of your accomplishments and don’t compare yourself to other people.

We are taught that being rejected is bad.  The fact is that someone will always reject you.  It could be a friend, a family member, a boss, maybe someone you don’t even know.  You can’t win the love of everyone in the world so stop letting it make you feel bad.  People are people and they will hurt you.  This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you and it certainly doesn’t make you a failure.

Many people go through life feeling like a failure because they have faulty beliefs.   They think there is something wrong with them and this isn’t true.  Everyone fails.  This is how we learn.  Mistakes are just opportunities to learn and we can do this with great success if we keep our mind open.

When you feel like a failure, here are 10 things to focus on:

  1. Tell yourself you are NOT a failure.  Stop your thoughts dead in their tracks.  Don’t allow yourself to zone in on those negative thoughts and beliefs.
  2. Challenge your thoughts.  Ask yourself, “Why do I feel like a failure?  Did I do something wrong or did someone tell me I did something wrong?  Where are these thoughts coming from?
  3. Change your focus to positive thoughts.  Negative thinking is a bad habit.  Consciously be aware of what you are saying and change any negative thoughts to positive thoughts.  “I made a mistake this time but I’m going to try harder next time.” “I was wrong but I can do better.”
  4. Take action.  Write down your thoughts and determine what you can do to avoid making the same mistake again.   Make a plan that take you in a different direction.  Create some goals.
  5. Do research.  There are tons of books, articles and videos about successful people who have struggled with failure.  Listen to what they did to overcome the obstacles in their life and try doing what they did to become successful.
  6. Look for the positive people in your life.  The people you hang out with will make a huge impact on your life.  Surround yourself with family and friends who are loving and supportive.  They will help you through your struggles and encourage you to keep going.
  7. Learn lessons from your mistakes.  There is a lesson to be learned from every mistake you made.  You have the choice to stay stuck in your mistakes and feel like a failure or you can move ahead and use that mistake as a learning tool.
  8. Never give up.  Failing doesn’t make you a failure.  Giving up makes you a failure.  So NEVER give up. Every successful person in this world was a failure at some point but they never gave up.   YOU can be that successful failure.  Create your own story of success and share it with others!

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Do you have a perfectionist complex?

Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?

Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?

Are you always driven by the expectations of others?

Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?

Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from?  We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in.  This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media.  Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough.  When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do?  When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D?  When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?

Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life.  Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection.  Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else.  The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations.  The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed.  We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.

We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws.  We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses.  We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be.  Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached.  Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important.  We all have unique value and worth.   Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits.  Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!


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A new beginning

We are almost at the beginning of a New Year.  Are you ready for a new beginning?

Think back over the past year.  What has happened to shape your life?  What memories were made?  Were they  happy or sad, rewarding or disappointing, powerful or pitiful?

We will always remember the really good times and the really bad times because they make a huge impact on us.  The problem is, when we focus on the bad times more than the good times, we are going to feel bad and not live our lives to the fullest.  We will hold ourselves back from trying something new or enjoying an event because we fear failure and want to protect ourselves from getting hurt.

Try hard to focus on the good things that have happened and treasure them in your heart.  See the bad things from a positive perspective and treat them as learning experiences.  What can you change in your life and how can you face these problems with confidence the next time they happen?  How can you treat people in a different way and not allow them to hurt you?

Each year we have an opportunity for a new beginning.  Start thinking about the changes you can make that will improve your relationships and your outlook on life.

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Do you feel like a failure?

Do you avoid doing things because you don’t know how it will work out?

Do you hesitate in making changes because you are afraid things might get worse?

Do you avoid situations because you are afraid you will say or do something wrong?

Many of us avoid doing anything that might result in failure.  We are so afraid that we might do something wrong, that we miss out on some great opportunities.  None of us likes to fail but failure is part of being a human.

Everyone makes mistakes.  We are not alone in our failures.  All successful people have failed during their lives but they just use failure as a learning tool to achieving their success.  They keep trying and working through their mistakes until they find a solution that works.

What we have to do is learn how to fail successfully.  Nobody else can succeed for us, so it is important that when we do fail, we just pick ourselves up and try again.  Don’t blame others for your mistakes, don’t make excuses and don’t give up.

Failure isn’t a problem unless you dwell on your failures and stay stuck.  Learn from them and try hard not to make the same mistake again.  We can learn a lesson from everything we do in life.

Failure is just a stepping stone to success.

Step 1 – Analyze your failure.  Why did this happen?  What did I do or say that didn’t work?

Step 2 – Determine what you could do differently the next time this situation comes up.

Step 3 – Write down a plan of action and start moving ahead.

Step 4 – Don’t focus on what happened, focus on what you are going to do.

Step 5 – If you can’t seem to come up with an answer that works, talk to someone you trust and allow them to help you.

Step 6 – Write down your successes, big and small and go over them regularly to remind yourself that you CAN succeed.


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Self-fulfilling prophecies

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a positive or negative expectation about people, circumstances or events that causes itself to become true because a person believes it will come true.  We can literally cause some things to come true just because we believe it.  Self-fulfilling prophecies are often false and can influence people in a negative way.

If a self-fulfilling prophecy is a positive expectation, it can help us reach our goals.  However, if it is a negative expectation, it can stop us from reaching our goals.

For example, a child is struggling in school and his goal is to become a doctor someday.   His parents want him to reach his goals so they encourage him and tell him to study hard.  They are very supportive and make sure he gets all the help he needs to improve his grades.   They proudly tell everyone that someday their son will be a doctor.  Their child will try to make this prediction come true because he believes it about himself.  His self-fulfilling prophecy of achieving his potential may possibly come true.

Now, let’s look at the same situation in a different way.  The same child is struggling in school and his goal is to become a doctor.  His parents never went to college and they don’t believe their son has the capability of becoming a doctor.   They tell him that he is too stupid to become a doctor and they continually discourage him.  They tell people that their son thinks he will become a doctor and then laugh about it.  Their child will likely try to make this prediction come true because he believes that he won’t be successful.  He will probably get a minimum wage paid job and be frustrated with his life, thus fulfilling his self-fulfilling prophecy of being a loser.

Self-fulfilling prophecies can be self-defeating if we are expecting something bad to happen.  If we believe we can’t do something, we won’t even try even if we do have the capability.  If we believe that everyone is going to hurt us, we will allow them to hurt us even if they don’t intend to.  If we believe we are clumsy, stupid or useless we will fulfill this prophecy and respond to people and situations with the wrong perspective.  We may very well be capable of achieving something great, but if we are told that we are a failure, we might not even try.

Have you ever gone for a job interview and already told yourself that you won’t get the job?  Have you ever gone to a party and already told yourself that nobody will talk to you?  Have you ever written a test and already told yourself that you wouldn’t get a good grade?   Have you ever woken up and just knew it was going to be a bad day?  You are probably fulfilling someone’s false prophecy about you.

Parents and other adults often say things that will dampen our enthusiasm or stop us from doing what we enjoy doing with negative words.  We have to build confidence in ourselves and not allow others to influence us in a negative way.  We should never allow the expectations of others to defeat us in any way.

I saw an instance a few weeks ago that could result in a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.   A young child was playing a game with plastic bowling pins and balls.  He was throwing the ball and also throwing the pins, which is quite normal for his age.  There was nothing bad about what he was doing, just a very active boy learning how use his arms.   However, his grandmother started telling him that he was going to be a bully.  I immediately wondered where she got that idea because he was playing alone and to be a bully you have to engaged with another person.  Now, I might have re-directed his energy and showed him how to use the pins properly, but I certainly wouldn’t have called him a bully.   If this expectation of her grandson is continually reinforced, the child may very well become a bully because he will believe that it is what is expected of him.  We should never label a child with a negative label.

Are you fulfilling the expectations of others?  Are you helping create someone else’s self-fulfilling prophecy?  Make sure it is a positive one!




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Give your children the freedom to fail

What?  Allow my children to fail?  Yes, it is healthy to allow your children to fail yet many parents will argue this point.  I’ve heard people say:

  • failure will hurt my child’s esteem
  • failure will make my child feel insecure
  • failure will make me look like a bad parent
  • failure doesn’t teach my child how to be a success

These arguments are actually not true.  Let’s take a look at each one.

1) Failure will hurt my child’s esteem.  The truth is, failure will help build a child’s esteem IF we don’t get angry with them or focus on their mistakes.  When a child learns to accept failure and learns from their mistakes, it will have a positive impact on how they feel about themselves and it WILL increase their esteem.

2) Failure will make my child feel insecure.   Failing is certainly not a good feeling and it can bring up temporary feelings of insecurity.  This is why is it so important to support your child when they do make a mistake.  Make sure they understand that it is okay to fail and that you still love them.  Encourage them to talk about how they feel, ways they can improve and be ready to help them if needed BUT don’t do everything for them.  Allow them to make the necessary changes and cheer for them.

3) Failure will make me look like a bad parent.  Parents should be more concerned about how their child feels than how they look as a parent.  No child is perfect and neither is any parent.  WE ALL FAIL and we need to accept this fact.  Pursuing perfection and encouraging your child to be perfect will only result in FAILURE!   If you feel bad when your child fails, then you need to work on your own esteem and understand that FAILING DOES NOT MAKE ANYONE A FAILURE!

4) Failure doesn’t teach my child how to be a success.  Actually failure does teach your child how to be a success.  It teaches a child that everything in life isn’t going to go the way they expected and that they need to make some changes.  Failure helps people learn and grow.  Failure teaches accountability.  Failures are just stepping stones to success.

Giving your children the freedom to fail helps them make decisions and learn from the consequences.   Love them, support them and have open communication with them.  The result:  A RESPONSIBLE ADULT!





Do you feel like a failure?

hitting headIf you feel like a failure, you are in good company.  Everyone has had their share of difficulty in life, some worse than others, but the ones who become successful are those who just get up and keep working towards their goals.  Failure isn’t a problem unless you dwell on it and stop growing.   We can all learn valuable lessons from our mistakes and just try to do better the next time.

Have you ever been told you are stupid or worthless?  What effect did that have on you?  From personal experience, these words made me feel bad and I kept telling myself I was stupid and worthless every time I did something wrong.  By believing what someone told me, I didn’t realize my value and didn’t live up to my potential.

Thomas Edison was a man who failed in school.  His teacher thought he was too stupid to learn and told him he would never be a success.  Did Thomas believe what his teacher told him?  No!  He kept going towards his goals and later developed the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the light bulb.  If he hadn’t believed in himself, we would still be sitting in the dark!

Walt Disney failed at his newspaper job because they didn’t think he had any imagination or original ideas.  Did Walt give up.  Of course not!  He knew he had potential and thanks to his creativity, millions of people can experience Disneyland.

Abraham Lincoln failed twice in business, was defeated in 8 elections and after his fiancée died, he had a nervous breakdown.  His failures and depression didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams.  Instead he kept going until he became the 16th president of the United States and probably one of the best.

What skills and abilities are you hiding or ignoring because of what someone has said to you?  Are you living up to your full potential?

Failures can destroy you or they can make you strong.  Most successful people in the world have failed several times in their lives but they had confidence in their own abilities and didn’t give up when everything seemed to be stacked against them.  You need to treat failures as stepping-stones to success and not allow them to drag you down.   Always remember that failure only happens when you quit trying.  So don’t give up, ever!!!



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Creatures of habit

7 figuresWe are all creatures of habit.  Research shows that as much as 40% of everything we do is purely habit!   This means that we aren’t even consciously aware that we are doing these things.

How do we develop habits?  Every time we do something, our brain subconsciously records it and if we repeat the same thing over and over again, we will do it without even thinking.   According to studies done, it shows that a new habit can be formed in about 21-30 days.

Many habits are good because they save us a lot of time and help us become successful.  These can include:  reading, writing, getting dressed, cooking, driving a car, work skills and so on.   Unfortunately, most of us have bad habits that continually cause problems for us.  These can include:  smoking, drinking, taking drugs, anger issues, eating disorders, overspending and many more.

Bad habits can often seem overwhelming and we can start to believe that it is impossible to change them.  However, if you can make a habit, you can also break a habit.  It is just harder and takes longer.  You have to be patient, willing to change and ready to make a commitment to yourself.   It is certainly worth the time and effort because once we develop good, healthy habits, we will start to feel better and be able to enjoy life.

What are some good habits that you would like to develop?   What are some bad habits that you would like to stop?  Make a list and then choose the one you would like to start with.   Write down this habit for 21 days in a journal, day book or on a calendar and keep track of your progress.  Try to find some family or friends to support you and celebrate every step of your success.  If you miss a day or make a mistake, just shake off the disappointment and keep going.  Never give up!

At the end of the 21 days, see if you are following this new habit.  If not, write it down for another 21 days and keep working on it.  When you feel confident that you have created a new habit, pick another one to work on.

If you are trying to stop a bad habit, this could take a lot longer.   Use the same 21 day method and assess your progress after this period of time.    Take baby steps and make sure you reward yourself at the end of every 21 days.

We are creatures of habit and we need to make sure that we are creating good habits and not just repeating bad habits.   The choice is yours.   Good habits can lead to success.  Bad habits usually lead to failure.  Which do you want?

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Losing weight the proper way

Don't be overly concerned with your weight.  It's only a number!

Don’t be overly concerned with your weight. It’s only a number!

The ONLY proper way to lose weight is to eat healthy and exercise.  You simply have to burn more calories than you eat.  So if it is that easy, why do so many people continue to diet year after year and never succeed?

There are several reasons.  People today have no patience and want everything instantly.  They want to lose weight in a few weeks or months and won’t commit to any long-term plan.   People will try just about any diet plan that promises a quick fix.  We are brainwashed by a multi-million dollar diet industry that convinces us we can gain friends, fame and fortune just by using their products and services.  Companies are getting richer and we are getting poorer, both financially and emotionally.

Studies show that people who go on weight loss plans are dooming themselves to failure.  Approximately 10% of the people on diets are successful, the rest usually gain back more weight than they have lost.  These are not good odds at all.  If you got sick and your doctor prescribed some medicine, then told you it would probably make you sicker, would you want to take that medicine?  I hope not, that would be very foolish.  Yet, every day people start on diets in the hopes of losing weight, knowing that they will likely fail.

Losing weight takes time and patience.  THERE IS NO FAST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!  You have to commit to a long-term plan of action and focus on healthy eating combined with exercise.  You don’t gain weight in a few weeks or months and you can’t lose it in a few weeks or months.

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, it is important that you are realistic and have a positive attitude.

  • Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can eat and choose healthy foods
  • Exercise daily – it helps burn calories
  • Manage your emotions – when people are upset, they often use food for comfort
  • Be patient – proper weight loss takes time
  • Stop comparing yourselves to others – everyone looks different and that is OK
  • Limit your TV and internet use – people tend to snack in front of a screen
  • Don’t stock your cupboard with junk food – fill them with healthy foods
  • Get family and friends to help support you
  • Treat yourself once in a while – incentives are necessary to keep us focused
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you slip backwards – we are human and we will fail sometimes which is okay as long as we get back on track quickly
  • Build some esteem – it will help you accept yourself just the way you are

Some people use food to help comfort them with past hurts, depression or other issues.  If stressful situation are causing you to gain weight, lose weight or develop an eating disorder, you are not making proper choices and it could be very harmful to your health.  Please see your health professional so they can help get you started on a proper diet.


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Are you good enough?

teen leaning on handIt is hard to be confident and keep our esteem strong in a world that constantly tells us we aren’t good enough and tries to convince us that we need more money, more power and more possessions to be happy and successful.  We are driven to become the ‘perfect’ person but this only causes us to fail again and again.  The result is often stress, anxiety and/or depression.

Pursuing perfection is a lose-lose situation in a world that is far from perfect.  No matter how hard we try or how much money we spend, we will never achieve perfection.

So how can you become confident and build esteem when you feel like you have failed?  What do you do when you feel unworthy?  What if you feel like giving up?

When you come to the end of your rope or the bottom of your pit, you need to stop what you are doing and make some positive changes to your life.  It doesn’t matter how people have treated you or how many mistakes you have made up to this point.  Your past does not define who you are.  You have to focus on the present and work hard at building confidence and increasing your self-esteem.young sad man

We often have distorted ideas about who we are, so we have to rid ourselves of any negative thinking.  Becoming aware of who we are is the first step to making positive changes in our lives.

  • do an honest self-evaluation
  • make a list of your positive qualities
  • say positive statements or affirmations daily
  • find your hidden strengths and skills then build on them
  • accept your weaknesses
  • learn from your failures
  • discover the truth about real beauty and stop believing what the media says
  • work on creating a new self-image

Change is not easy but success is possible if you have an open mind and heart, commit to actively working on change and you don’t give up.

YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!  Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t.   Listen to your own positive words and keep encouraging yourself.  Remember, your past does not define you.  Start creating a new you today!


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