Why Bloggers Should Visualize Failure
I know, I know, every blogger should be visualizing success. They should have dream collages and affirmations attached to their bathroom mirror. They should meditate, read Think and Grow Rich over and over again, and believe with every fiber they will succeed.
I will be a great blogger. I will be a great blogger. I will be a great blogger.
Never let a negative thought enter your mind, right? Well, I'm not so sure. In fact, I think the whole success mindset thing is a bunch of hogwash. Success comes to those who consistently do the hard work over a long period of time.
This is the secret. That isn't to say visualization can't be helpful. It can. There is a mountain of research supporting the use of visualization as a form of practice - like US skier Michaela Shiffrin "seeing" in her mind's eye the downhill course she's about to ski. Closing your eyes and seeing yourself in the process of completing your goals is effective.
However, visualizing yourself having already achieved success has largely been debunked. In fact, the feeling it evokes can itself be so satisfying that it can actually demotivate you, making you less likely to reach your goals.
So what's the deal with visualizing failure? Why would you want to do that?
Again, the key here is practice. The truth is, as a blogger, you're going to experience failure. Lots of it. There is no way around it. You're going to have days and weeks - even months - when your traffic is way down. You're going to have articles that will bomb. You're going to receive hateful comments. You may even spend a year creating a product that no one wants.
How will you handle it? How will you handle the staggering lows and failures that are surely coming your way? If you're like 99 percent of the people who start a blog, you'll quit. You'll quit no matter how many times you visualize yourself driving a Lamborghini, drinking Cristal Brut, and living in Bel Air.
But if you see yourself failing, if you picture yourself writing a crappy post, and what you'll do in response (i.e. become even more determined than ever and spend twice as long writing the next one), then you won't quit.
You'll only become more unstoppable.
When you know it's going to happen, and are prepared for it, nothing can hurt you.
Scott and I are failing right now. This blog doesn't currently get much traffic despite us being at it for more than seven months and writing over fifty articles. But we're okay. In fact, we're more motivated than ever because we expect it. The longer we hang in there, the more we'll slowly catch up and pass our competition.
I like being down. I like the feeling of failing. The possibility of overcoming it excites me. Visualizing failure - and more of it to come - empowers me to endure. It frees me to turn all the obstacles into an advantage.
So stop with the romantic, pie-in-the-sky notions. Stop with the listening to Brian Tyler and E.S. Postumus. (Truth be told, I love E.S. Postumus.) And stop believing you have to see yourself succeeding. You don't.
But you can benefit greatly from seeing yourself fail. Try it.
It feels good.
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