Stress blog

Lighten your soul: Let go of past failures

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. April 16, 2010

There's something therapeutic about throwing out old stuff. Whether it's household utensils that we don't use or clothes that we no longer wear, it just feels good to unburden ourselves of things that tie us down or hold us back.

On a recent rainy spring day, I was sifting through files that I hadn't opened in many years. I came across a folder from the year 2000 involving a project that fizzled. A number of well-meaning people, including myself, devoted enormous energies to this particular program, but the timing was not right and the program was dissolved. As I reflected on that experience, I felt disappointment and frustration that so much effort was spent by so many people. What a waste. Or was it?

Only by looking at our so-called failures can we really learn and grow. In this case, the lesson was real clear: If we embark on a new journey or undertake a challenging task and find we're not making headway, we need to be willing to step back and reassess. If we're just running around in circles, we're well advised to close the chapter and save our energy and focus for another day.

Have others had similar insights?


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

Apr. 16, 2010