Hoarding Failure Junk in the Brain

Trash BagIf you’ve ever watched the TV program Hoarders, you may have been mystified and horrified by the conditions these people allow themselves to live in. Their lives are defined and consumed by the stuff they collect. Many times it’s junk that has little or no value yet the things they cannot let go of. 

Strangely, I was reminded of these hoarders when listening to a recent interview about success. Robert Steven Kaplan, the author of What You’re Really Meant to Do talks about the importance of not only finding your passion but also identifying your strengths and weaknesses as key components of achieving your potential for success. 

There is nothing particularly new about either one of these success validators. However, from his experience in coaching Kaplan reports that most clients have “blind spots.” Whereby, their brains don’t recognize their strengths or talents unless pointed out by someone else.

It’s Kaplan’s premise that success is not only built from outside feedback as to unrecognized strengths and finding the passions that will carry one through career ups and downs, but also the recognition of the part of our life story that is filled with old failure stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

It’s the old failure stories that are the junk we hoard in our brains. “I can’t do that.” “I’m no good at.. .” “I tried that and it didn’t work.” “I don’t want the responsibility.” “If they only knew how inept, unqualified, stupid, etc. etc. etc. I am” These are all abbreviated junk messages we tell ourselves based on memories and perceptions of past failures.

We easily hang on to our failure junk messages and let them define us as being unqualified to achieve the potential of our success. We also let our failure junk messages override the pursuit of our passions and cloud the perceptions of our strengths.

Kaplan maintains that it’s important to become aware of our negative stories, but there also comes a time to no longer be a prisoner to them. The same as hoarders who have to face the choice of whether be continue to be a prisoner of their junk. Sometimes, it’s really hard to let go.

But, if business success is the track that you want to be on, then maybe it’s time to start clearing out the failure brain junk that’s holding you back.