When an unexpected setback happens, it’s natural to want to point to the setback and reduce the expectations you hold for yourself at first.

At what point, though, should you ban yourself from pointing at that setback?

I don’t have a precise answer, but surely it has to be at some point.

At some point, enough time should have elapsed for you to understand, evolve, and carry yourself forward in a way such that you no longer allow yourself to be defined by the setback even if it continues to exist in some fashion.

On the surface, this may seem harsh, but if your goal is to grow and become increasingly resilient then you owe it to yourself to firmly hold this expectation.

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The first instance of self-criticism can be useful. If it is constructive, it can be a call to learn from your mistakes and be better.

The first criticism can empower you.

Every echo — that is to say the subsequent criticisms that exist merely to beratingly remind you of the same mistake — are needless. The more you entertain them, the more energy that is wasted helplessly ruminating about the past.

Echoes will drain you.

Pushing yourself to grow while maintaining a sense of well-being are perfectly compatible things provided you give yourself permission to pay mind only to the first criticism that serves you and none of the noise that comes after it.

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Start before you are ready; you will never be 100% ready.

Ship before it’s perfect; it will never be perfect.

The pursuit of Readiness and Perfection does not help you achieve better outcomes, it stops you from shipping and learning a single anything.

Failure itself is hardly the issue; it’s withholding your work so as to never even have the chance to fail.

You will make exponentially more progress by putting something out into the world, failing epically, and learning from it than you will from putting nothing out into the world because you are endlessly wondering how to not fail.

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William Liao

William Liao

79 Followers

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)