I love this quote from Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code.

“If you don’t feel that frustration, that failing and fixing sensation, you’re not stressing your skill circuits.”

Huh? What’d he say? Let me break it down.

The “skill circuits” refer to the mental muscles where your skills reside. As you develop a skill you are actually making the mental muscle stronger. But as in any other type of training, this means we are first stressing the muscles in order to make them stronger.

This mental stressing can lead to frustration, but it is a very healthy and necessary frustration. It is the type of frustration that occurs when we work our muscles (in this case our mental muscles) to the point of failure.

I can do about 60 push-ups before I reach the point of failure. Those last ten or so are brutal. I’m straining with everything I have to pump those out. When I’m finished I tend to collapse. I have to; I don’t have the arm strength to push myself up so I go down. This is a picture of pushing to failure, but in that failure comes strength training. That is, the failure today makes me stronger tomorrow.

I wonder if we are often self-limiting because we simply choose to avoid even the potential for failure (and the subsequent frustration). Perhaps we’ve got that wrong. Perhaps the key is not to avoid failure, but rather to fail successfully.

What would successful failure look like in your world? Think on that for a while, and consider some of the ways that you can push yourself to the point of frustration in order to get to a healthier fix.

Change your own world, my friends. Change your own world.