The Reality That You Need To Accept



It’s been a while, let’s dive in

Some of my clients at times struggle with self doubt, which causes them to second guess themselves a lot. One client, when she was finishing up her work studies I remember seeing just how upset she’d get when she’d get 95 out of 100 on a practice exam.

She doesn’t have an academic background so the mental block she was having didn’t click with me at first until we talked about it more.


Turns out, in her mind this was how studying was supposed to work:

1. Watch a lecture & immediately absorb everything from it.

2. Do a review quiz, recall all of the required information with ease and get 100%, every time.

3. Congratulations, you have now learned how Energy Systems work and the Anatomy of a Cell (Example).

And if you don’t go through a similar 3 step process, you’re dumb and a complete failure for not being able to understand the complexities of the Krebs Cycle & Cellular Respiration within 90 minutes (Again Example). Idiot.

But it’s not her fault. She actually does understand that it’s not meant to work exactly like that. But unfortunately, through her schooling she hasn’t had much in the way of positive role models to assist her. Instead, her stories to me are of teachers telling her that she was better off not handing in assignments given how poorly she performed on some.

It’s sad. And all around her, she’s seeing evidence of other people passing with flying colours, or at the very least confidently working their way through their coursework without seeming to have the same road blocks. Combine that with the negative self talk that’ll inevitably arise of not being good enough and you can see just how much more difficult studying or performing at anything can be.

There’s probably many of you reading this who have had similar shades of the above.

Maybe it’s the fifth time you’ve read a passage in a text and you STILL can’t make sense out of the concept. So you feel like an idiot.

Or maybe, no matter how many times you’ve tried embarking on your goal of Fat Loss, Learning a Language or whatever other Goal you’ve set for yourself this time – you still aren’t where you want to be and haven’t succeeded. So now you feel like a complete failure who’s destined to be unhappy with their life for the rest of their life.

Pretty shit, right?

It all comes down to the same thing – Getting real with this concept of Failure.

“The next email will be about 2 reasons why you’re going to fail on your Goals. If you want to read that, stay tuned”.

Reason Number 2 Why You’re Going to Fail is that you’re meant to fail

When I started Coaching a fair few years back, one of the first things the coach said to me was “You’re going to spend the first part working out what NOT to do before you start working out what TO do” – and nothing has stuck with me more than that sentence.

In order to make positive change in your life, it’s not just about doing more positive actions. It’s about doing more negative actions, so you learn how to move forwards more effectively.

It’s probably worth reading that one again, there’s a lot of positive/negative in there.

Making mistakes and failure is all part of the learning process. Whether you realise it or not, your brain is actively learning from every single negative result by learning what NOT to do, which helps clarify the path for what TO do.


For my client, Academic Study should in fact, look like this:

1. Watch a lecture and absorb 10% from it – if you’re lucky.

2. Do the review quiz and fail horribly.

3. Curl up in a ball and cry.

4. Look back at your incorrect answers and work out why those answers were incorrect.

5. Watch the lecture again, revising those problem areas and absorb another 5% from it.

6. Try a new method for reinforcing those problem areas other than just watching a lecture passively. Maybe some flash cards, or a YouTube video on the topic?.

7. Do the review quiz again and fail less horribly.

8. Curl up in a ball and cry.

9. Repeat steps 4-6 as needed.

Unfortunately, she had a spanner thrown in the works through her past experiences.


The case with her teacher should have been:

1. Hand in subpar assignment.

2. Teacher returns bad mark, but with helpful critique.

3. Client learns that the subpar assignment is NOT the way forwards, and works out another way to do the assignment more effectively. The negative action of her first attempt has now shown her that she needs to try something different – and she has the support she needs to do so.

4. Submits another assignment, hopefully slightly less subpar than the first.

5. Sail off happily into the sunset.


Instead, the teacher decided to stop the process off at Step 2 which created a very different learning experience:

1. Hand in subpar assignment.

2. teacher is an idiot and makes unhelpful remarks

3. Client learns that handing in assignments that are anything less than 100% is a failure. Perfection or nothing. The negative action of her first attempt hasn’t been accepted, reflected on and strategised for to help her move forwards effectively.

4. Why fucking bother? I’m fucking worthless. Fuck the world. I can’t do anything right.

Fortunately, she’s in a better place now. But it’s worth noting –

If you’re struggling with any goal, say sticking to a diet or having a wellbeing strategy that is for you – Every time you mess up is an opportunity for you to reflect and ask yourself – Why did this happen? What can I do differently next time to try to avoid this from happening? Then you try that different thing out, rinse and repeat.

Don’t expect to get it right the first time, or the second time – or the 100th time. As long as you keep reinforcing this behaviour of reflection and problem solving, you’ll get to where you need to be. And most importantly, you’ll get there through learning a skill that becomes second nature to you.

The fact is, MOST of it is subconscious. If you laid on your back on the ground and someone is sitting on top of you, driving their entire bodyweight down onto you and crushing your chest and abdomen – Your first reflexive, subconscious defence may be to reach your arms out to try to pull them off you. in real life, do you really think you’re going to be able to bench press another human off of you so effortlessly? Probably not.

Instead, you have to slowly learn how to manoeuvre your hips and legs to throw them off balance, whilst simultaneously keeping your arms in tight to your body so you can wriggle your way out without risking an arm being trapped. You essentially perform a Hip Thrust or Glute Bridge off the floor, using your powerful hip muscles to throw them off you whilst rotating yourself out from underneath them in one violent humping motion* – the complete opposite to what you want to subconsciously do. It takes a concerted effort to consciously override your natural instincts, then more of a concerted effort to start to learn a new, more effective behaviour, and then eventually, after 1000s of hours, it will start to go into your subconscious problem solving skill set.

So in the second part of this year, if you’re looking at achieving anything – Do yourself a favour and do these 3 things.

1. Expect to fail. It’s an essential part of learning.

2. When you fail, ask yourself – What can I try doing differently next time?.

3. Keep going.

Do that for a while and you won’t recognise yourself in a few weeks, let alone a year.

Talk soon,

Coach Baz

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