Insight #3: Breakdowns Reveal Progress


The breakdowns you're having reveal where you are on the journey is the kind of insight that invites a different kind of relationship to failure.

In my experience, for human beings failure is not optional, whereas suffering is.

Our relationship to failure is usually a problematic one - what's not always seen is that what makes failure problematic is not the breakdown itself, but rather its the emotions we feel in the moment and what we make the breakdown mean about ourselves, others and the world in general.

The algebra I use to remind myself of this is:

Problem = Breakdown + "It shouldn't be this way"

Before a breakdown can be dealt with as a breakdown - before a breakdown can reveal where you are on the journey - it's necessary to first articulate the breakdown free of any interpretation that is generating upset for those dealing with the breakdown.

Willingness to Deal with Breakdowns as Breakdowns

What's problematic here is that once we accept that thinking accurately beats the alternative, once we accept that knowing requires doing, we come face to face with our willingness to deal with breakdowns as breakdowns.

Breakdowns as breakdowns are not problematic - what is problematic is being willing to deal with the meanings and the sufferings associated breakdowns happening at all.

What's at Stake

What governs the rate and pace of a transformation, what constrains the rate and pace at which fitness increases (the rate and pace at which say/do ratios produce evidence of fitness moving from sit, to crawl, to walk to run to fly), is the willingness to deal with breakdowns as breakdowns - to deal with breakdowns free from the interpretations that keep the suffering in place.

Winston Churchill put it this way-

"When you are going through hell... don't stop, keep going" 

The corollary to Knowing requires Doing is Fitness requires Practice.

What's needed for results, is performance. What's needed for performance is fitness. What's needed for fitness is practice.

What's needed for new results, is new levels of performance. What's needed for new levels of performance is new levels of fitness. What's needed for new levels of fitness is deliberate practice with qualified feedback.

What stands in the way of deliberate practice is the willingness to do the work such that we get to deal with breakdowns as breakdowns.