Facing Imperfection, Struggling, Failure: Inspiration to Teach

Most successful people throughout history are also those who have had the most failures. That is no coincidence. – Tal Ben-shahar

Overcoming Perfectionism

  • It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that perfection is the goal or that you must “get it all together” before you can share authentically.
  • However, with experience and courage, we come to realize that, in fact, personal challenges are the ground for application of the teachings, and this leads us to becoming better teachers.
  • A simple example is experiencing injury that induces you to learn more about anatomy and physiology and how to adapt your practice to accommodate your injury. What you learn, why you learn it, how you apply it, and how you evolve in your view of students experiencing injury makes you—without a doubt—a better teacher.
  • We come to see life’s challenges and suffering not as obstacles on a path toward perfectionism, but simply as the path.

Failure & Perseverance Mark Every Path to Fulfillment

  • When you are struggling to, say, incorporate a new technique in your teaching, to learn more about anatomy, to lead workshops, or find more balance in your life, consider that struggle, “failure” and perseverance mark every path to fulfillment. Success is not a straight line that bypasses failure!
  • And when it comes to persistence, remember, “The difference between good and great is immeasurably small. Sometimes all it takes is a bit more perseverance and you find yourself at the next level.”

I Will Not Wait Until I’ve Got it All Together

I will not wait ‘till the time is right or until I’ve “got it all together” to share my heart. I will not waste one second in perfectionism… This imperfect platform… allows me… to share myself. I am creating here because I must. Because it heals me. I implore you to take your life and hold it in both hands and make it yours. Bring all of yourself and all that you dream. Bring it to life. – Carrie-Anne Moss

Personal Challenges Make More Effective Teachers

I have no problem with yoga teachers keeping their personal problems to themselves, because that’s what healthy boundaries are. We are there to serve our students and not just talk about our own issues, especially if they’re unresolved… What I’m concerned about is the idea that as a yoga teacher we have to achieve some kind of perfection in our own lives and that our faults somehow reduce our capacity to teach. In fact, I think it’s the other way around: our personal challenges make us more effective teachers because we are forced to apply the teachings in our own lives. – Jivana Heyman

Don’t Let Role Models Get in the Way of Reality

Impostor syndrome. It’s rampant…Everyone who is doing important work is working on something that might not work. And it’s extremely likely that they’re also not the very best qualified person on the planet to be doing that work… Yes, you’re an impostor. So am I and so is everyone else… Isn’t doing your best all you can do?… Time spent fretting about our status as impostors is time away from dancing with our fear, from leading and from doing work that matters. – Seth Godin

Fulfilling Potential Must Involve Some Failure

When we hear about extremely successful people, we mostly hear about their great accomplishments—not about the many mistakes they made and the failures they experienced along the way. In fact, most successful people throughout history are also those who have had the most failures. That is no coincidence… There is no success without risk and failure. We often fail to see this truth because the outcome is more visible than the process—we see the final success and not the many failures that led to it… The choice is a simple one: Learn to fail, or fail to learn. – Tal Ben-shahar

Those that Struggled Performed Better Later

In a study of seventh grade math students… students were divided up into two… groups. Both groups were given a set of complex math problems to solve. The first group was instructed to work cooperatively with fellow students to solve the problems. The second group received direct teacher instruction… The group that worked without direct instruction was ultimately unsuccessful in their efforts to solve the problems. After they had failed, the teacher provided an explanation of what they did wrong… What happens next… is a bit more unexpected. Both groups were given a post test that included problems similar to the ones covered previously in addition to problems that were structured quite differently… The group that struggled and failed performed significantly better on all types of problems on the post test. They retained more knowledge and exhibited greater flexibility in applying their new learning to different types of problems. – Keith A Howe, Let Them Fail

Difference Between Good & Great is Small

You may not know that paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit and does not ignite at 450 degrees. Now imagine yourself lost in a forest, cold, needing warmth. You invest energy by rubbing two sticks together, causing friction in hope of igniting some paper and leaves. You create heat by your efforts and even raise the friction area’s temperature up to 450 degrees without successfully creating fire. Sadly, you quit in discouragement, not knowing that the activation energy is 451 degrees. However, if you push a little harder and create a little more heat and raise the temperature one degree, the chain reaction occurs, and the fire ignites—burning without more effort, burning by itself. The difference between good and great is immeasurably small. Sometimes all it takes is a bit more perseverance and you find yourself at the next level. – Michael Lardon