Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Failure Mentality

In Episode 30 of the Gun Blog Variety Cast, Sean presented the cast with the following quote, and observed their varied responses.
Light bulb goes out, other people fix it, get a new one. Light bulb goes out for the Catholic, he stands in the dark, says "What did I do wrong?"
(By the by, if you're not listening to the Gun Blog Variety Cast, you're truly missing out. The hosts and cast are sharp as can be, and darn good folks in general.)

When confronted with crisis, folks have varied responses. Some people rise to greatness and shine in the crisis. Most folks keep trucking along, doing what they know and handling what they can. Some sad folks, at the first sign of difficulty or failure, throw up their hands, cry woe, and give up hope.

I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested...
Failure mentality can stem from a number of sources, and can paralyze those it affects. When faced with what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle, the feeling of dread and pre-emptive failure can cause people to mentally freeze, stopping even basic problem solving.

Clinical or seasonal depressions can bring it on, as can other mental conditions. Some folks experience a failure mentality when they're facing a particularly large or critical challenge, or one they've not experienced before. Sometimes it is experienced in relation to past failures and how they apply to current challenges. Erin's "backpack preppers" are likely to run afoul of failure mentality when they realize that all their gear is useless without skill and practice.

I think I can, I think I can...
One of the many reasons we harp on gaining skill and avoiding being a "backpack prepper" is to arrest failure mentality. Knowing that you have the tools, both physical and mental, to handle a situation is one of the surest ways to keep disruptions from paralyzing you. Acquiring new skills and facing fears builds a confidence in oneself that is based in experience and is much harder to shake. Possibly the biggest confidence builder is when you realize you can teach a skill, and then do so.

So often on our Facebook group, folks claim they have nothing to teach or bring no skills to share. This is a fallacy. Everyone has skills. Make an honest assessment of the things you do, both professionally and as a hobby. Break down those skills, and teach someone what you know, while learning what they know. Study something that interests you, simply for the sake of learning it. If you feel a bit confident or courageous, write a BCP guest article.

Do the things that build confidence now, to prevent freezing from a lack of confidence when it matters.


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