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Getting Rid of Failure

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on March 21, 2010 | Comments (4)

There’s something about the word “failure.”

It looks sad. It looks depressing. It literally reeks of the smell of…well…failure.

The mind is a marvelous thing. Although I would contend it is unitary, we can define that aspect of the mind that takes care of everything we’re not aware of as the unconscious. This unconscious does a lot of things. It controls our balance. It keeps the heart going. And wow, does it remember things! Even things you are not consciously aware of, it remembers. And it acts on them.

And it’s powerful! If you think you are a success, it will help you achieve success. But if you think you’re a failure, your will sabotage your actions and lead you to wrong decisions. It will lead you to failure. And with each failure it will acknowledge that, indeed, you’re a failure, and work hard to keep you a failure.

I wonder how many lives have been ruined because a parent told a child, “You’re such a failure.” Perhaps the child, now grown, doesn’t consciously remember it. But the unconscious does. And it acts.

I hate failure. I really do. But for some time, now, I have been “programming” my unconscious with a simple concept:

There is no failure, only feedback.

Sure, sometimes things don’t work as planned. Sometimes they don’t work as desired. But I refuse to accept these things as failures because I am not a failure! Since I am not a failure, there is no way I can fail. “Failure is not an option” for me. I am not a failure.

But when something doesn’t work, doesn’t that mean I failed? No!

I am not a failure. What I do does not fail. When something doesn’t work as I wanted it means that I did not have enough information to plan and act appropriately to achieve my desired results. Things that don’t work are simply additional feedback. They provide lots of information for me so that next time I’ll achieve the goal I wanted. The lack of success is a blessing because it gives me more information to plan, act, and achieve my potential.

Sometimes magick rituals don’t work. The protection isn’t there. The healing doesn’t heal. The talisman doesn’t achieve its goal. The spirit evoked doesn’t appear.

Not one of these is a failure! Not one of them. Each lack of success gives me the opportunity to learn more about magick in general and more about the specific ritual, rite, spell, or practice. Is that a great opening to greater success or what?

So I may not succeed this time or the next time. But each time I don’t succeed I can take that feedback from the experience and learn. Eventually, I’ll be successful because I am a success.

How about you? Are you programming yourself for success or failure?

I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
……………………………………………….—Benjamin Franklin

An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.
………………………………………………—Charles F. Kettering (inventor of the electric starter)

Failure is success if we learn from it.
………………………………………………—Malcome S. Forbes

Reader Comments

Written By Kyle
on March 21st, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

One of the challenges, I think, of “failure” is that it tends to happen at the start of an endeavor. As the quotes above show, success is often the result of countless earlier failures.

The trick then is to stick to it, especially at the beginning when you haven’t really had the chance to perfect your skills.

But inherent in that is a problem I can see. Let’s take magick. For those starting off, magick can seem daunting. For some, it can be approached with skepticism (“does this really work?”) or self-doubt (“OK, I believe it works, but just as I can’t be a great piano player, no matter how much I practice, I’m just not a musician, I don’t have what it takes to be a magickian.”). Such skepticism or self-doubt, though probably normal and natural, is precisely what often causes failure in rituals.

Does anyone have any ideas for those needing to get over this hump, how to encourage those who feel they are about to throw in the towel?

I find a few minutes of affirmations help me with my magick, concentration, meditation, etc.

Written By lada
on March 23rd, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

especially with wishes, hopes, spells and ritual:
I try not to think in terms of failure and success.
at times, I am given the opportunity to appreciate
an outcome I had failed to imagine.

Written By Izabael Dajinn
on March 23rd, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

I agree so wholeheartedly that I feel descriptions of tarot cards with negative connotations should be dropped or changed.

For example “Failure” in Crowley’s Thoth deck. Saturn in Taurus should be “putting the nose to the grindstone”, or perhaps that last final effort before release or accomplishment. It is not a mistake, but a chance to move forward.

Failure is not implied in this card at all until Crowley slaps a big “FAILURE” across the card. Can you imagine how much less frightening readings to people could be if it said “Feedback”? instead of “Failure”? As much as I love that deck, his titles for many of the cards leaves a lot to be desired.



  1. Magick Isn’t a Religion  on March 25th, 2010 @ 10:34 am

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