Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, said, “The deep root of failure in our lives is to think, ‘Oh how useless and powerless I am.’ It is essential to think strongly and forcefully, ‘I can do it,’ without boasting or fretting.”
What the Dalai Lama is calling for in this quotation is a recognition of the impact of how our thought influences our behavior in terms of “failure.” Someone who talks about what they “can’t” do, probably won’t do it, even if it is something that, as viewed from without, is something they actually would be capable of doing. Self-talk has a way of sneaking up on us and clouding our eyes in ways that may be devastating to our personal performance.
On the other hand, it is good practice to focus on ways of thinking that promote the growth of our self-capacity and a way of thinking that, instead of setting up the impossibility of the situation before actually embarking on it, frames the situation as a problem that you can solve.
For the Dalai Lama, this is the “deep root of failure.” It is the inability to imagine oneself capable of doing and thus, not doing, by virtue of one’s own self-talk. Change your way of thinking to lead you where you want to go. Don’t set up imaginary boundaries, because the imaginary boundaries will become real boundaries.
Another article from the “failure” series is:
Oh, Failure!: Elbert Hubbard