How to get out of the success/failure mindset


I think it's hard to challenge cognitive distortions and believe, without going through the long process above. Because sometimes we 'know' those things, that we are supposed to think and believe in response. But still get no where. It's easy to identify cog distortions, not so easy to believe/ trust.

I guess it depends mostly on if you really want to change them....because that takes
Thanks @Movingforward10 :)

I wanted to add that as a child who grew up in a family like that, I have internalised these messages. So not only am I very sensitive to outside criticism for failure or praise for success, but I do it to myself too, internally. "Yay Sophy! Well done! You rock!" if I do something well and "Ugh, you suck Sophy! Why do you always mess stuff up!" when I fail at something.

So that means my self-acceptance is conditional, based on the conditional model I learned as a child.

I think if I can get my inner dialogue around success and failure to be non-conditional, then I'll feel far more immune to the ups and downs of success and failure.

Because contrary to what many of us like to believe, success and failure isn't something we can simply "achieve".
Often success and failure are dependent on external things that are good luck/ bad luck.

If I have trouble learning to read, because I'm dyslexic, then that's bad luck.
If I have a teacher that explains reading to me well and I excell at it, that's good luck.
If I have a teacher whose teaching style doesn't suit my learning style at all and therefore I don't do well, that's bad luck.

In Western socities, we love to buy into the myth that success and failure is about what we do right and what we do wrong.

Rich people like to kid themselves that they're rich because they did everything right and they deserve it.
Whereas, they're usually rich because they inherited money or had such a good start in life bought for them at good schools and good universities.

And equally, it's popular to blame poor people for their lack of success, assuming they must've "done something" to be afflicted by poverty.
Sure, a few people become rich by really hard work, and a few people are poor because they made poor choices they didn't need to make.

But the overwhelming majority of people are rich or poor by lucky or unlucky circumstances, not because they are responsible for their success or failure.

or are satisfied with your life the way it is......

I had years where I couldn't read due to meds and neurological issues, I had years where I struggled to achieve a bachelors degree without family support, I had years where emotions and trauma took it's toll and learning was challenging then, and I've had good years.....but the one consistent I look back......that there was very little good luck.....mostly hope that things had to be better, and that I could become independent...... and tons of hard work and doing without all the frills.


By someone’s definition you’ll always fail, and by another you’ll always succeed. Going by other people’s definitions is a crap shoot of whatever warm body is nearest, and their opinions.

The important thing, in my experience, is knowing your own definitions. So you know where to put your time, your energy, know when to make course corrections to more align with your own values... because knowing what you value doesn’t mean you’ll never challenge it, or be influenced by the beliefs of others. But it does mean you can look yourself in the eye, and know you did what you believed was right. Even if it wasn’t the best, by your own or anyone else’s standards. It’s power over your own life. Doing what you believe is right, o the best of your own ability.


I guess it depends mostly on if you really want to change them.
^ I'm not sure it always deals with a willful resistance, or satisfaction or fear of change. Dr. Paul Gilbert said those with that problem actually lacked self-compassion, if I remember correctly.
there was very little good luck.....mostly hope that things had to be better, and that I could become independent...... and tons of hard work and doing without all the frills.
I think you deserve a lot of credit. I think it's good to remember for many trauma begets more trauma, and more so than luck it's a cascade of consequence. Also for many, independence has been the only option, regardless of outcome, and basic survival is the 1st hurdle. I'm not sure that people who have never had anything but independence as the option see themselves as more resilient or successful?

Agree with @Friday , At the end of the day the only one looking back at you in the mirror is you. What makes you happy @Sophy (in lockdown) ? What is of the most importance to you?


I came here to say I am still working on this. I love the suggestions that have been given, and they jive with what my therapist has asked me to do. He has also told me to keep a journal of all the positives and write down the good that happens in a day. I'm terrible at journaling, but I am trying to change my mindset. It's hard work and I don't always have the energy for it. Give yourself compassion. I always have to remind myself that I give more compassion to others than myself and that I need to learn that I am also worthy of forgiveness in making mistakes. ? Not everything is a failure if I don't succeed in the way I thought I would, but shifting that mindset is hard work!