ACT and Failure and Success

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  How can I cope with failure?

A:  View it as a necessary precursor to success!

Image result for inspirational picture quotes eddison

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was, “too stupid to learn anything.”  He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.”  As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.  When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times.  The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  What a wonderful attitude!

No wonder Edison went on to become one of the greatest inventors of all time.  He didn’t look on failure as a problem.  He viewed it as a necessary pre-cursor to success!

Would that we all could do the same.  What a difference that would make in our lives.  Instead of running away from the risk of failure we would be able to welcome it with open arms, to look on it with anticipation as an opportunity for a lovely learning curve.

Unfortunately, if you are like me then you are no Thomas Edison.  Rather than regarding failure as a welcome guest you more likely grew up, as I did, regarding it as a dirty word.  For me failure has always been flooded with negativity, something to be avoided at all costs.  Rather than being prepared to try and fail, too often I haven’t dared to try at all.  With this attitude there is no room for the lovely learning curves that failure offers.  Our lives become smaller as a result.  What a shame.

ACT encourages us to be careful with language.  “Failure” is only a word, a series of letters, a sound.  It is we who imbue it with meaning.  My reaction to the word “failure” is completely different to that of Edison.  We are literally poles apart!  But when we invest too much meaning into words we can hurt ourselves.  This is where Defusion can help.  When we remember that words are just sounds, thoughts are just strings of words that we make up, we can start to take them less seriously.  We can become more flexible.  This is a good thing!

I wrote “LOVELY LEARNING CURVES” to remind me of that.


  • Are you able to see the difference between a word and the meaning you give it?
  • Are you aware of the messages that you send yourself?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.





Let us have a new beginning, let us make a brand-new start,

Let’s approach a fresh whatever with a quickening of the heart,

And let’s send ourselves sweet messages of encouragement and good cheer,

Tell ourselves that we are for us now whatever happens here.

Let’s prepare ourselves for pitfalls, yes there’ll be the odd time when

We’ll revert to negativity, but we can rise again

Reinforced by lovely learning curves that each new failure brings

When we’re willing to look for the treasures hidden in these things.

For a failure’s not a failure when we view it in this way,

It is just another thing we’ve learned that didn’t work today,

But it’s on the back of failure that success comes finally

And if we stick around for long enough success we’ll surely see.

And so, let’s have a new beginning, let us make that brand-new start,

And let us not retreat defeated, let’s be stout and strong of heart,

Because we’re braver than our gravest fears, great things can still be ours

When we remember, we are human beings, with unimagined powers.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “LOVELY LEARNING CURVES” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

When I first came to ACT I remember being very impressed by the importance that it attached to language.  In fact, I remember reading alot about the difficulties that language can create for human beings.  Although it is one of our greatest gifts, our use of language also has the capacity to do us much harm.  Somewhere along the way I have forgotten alot of what I learned back then.  So I thought it was high time to take a refresher, to remind myself of what I once knew!

Amongst other interesting articles, I came across a piece written by Rob Archer entitled, you’ve guessed it, “The Dangers of Language“.  Just what I was looking for!  Rob reminds us of:

“one of the most powerful lessons within contextual behavioural science; that part of our lives (or ‘context’) is shaped by the words that we use to describe it.”

I found the article really helpful, a great reminder that:

“if we get it wrong, language has the capacity to sell us a version of life that is not particularly accurate or helpful and which may leave us feeling shortchanged.”

I have a feeling I shall be reading more of Rob’s stuff in the days to come!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes


ACT and Self Compassion


Q: Is Self Compassion more important than Self Esteem?

A: It would seem so!

Sometimes it happens, doesn’t it?  Someone says just the right thing at the right time, or you turn on the TV and there’s something showing that just resonates with you, or you go surfing the internet and there it is, an article just waiting to be read by you at exactly the right time you needed to read it!!  Spooky isn’t it?  Or fate, or karma or serendipity or whatever you want to call it!

Well it just happened to me!  I was just surfing around and I came across this great article in the Huffington Post written by Steven C Hayes, entitled “Is Self Compassion more important than Self Esteem?”. And it had me hooked, because it seems it is!

After years of trying to improve Mental Health by trying to improve Self Esteem, it seems that, to quote Hayes,

“What if the Self Esteem discussion is like the proverbial finger-pointing at the moon?”

“It seems that new research is suggesting this may be the case, and that a new concept – self compassion – could be vastly more important than self esteem when it comes to long-term mental health and success.”

I like the sound of that!  And do you know, I have an inkling he is right.  Why?

Well it happens so often doesn’t it?  Something goes wrong, something happens to hurt us, to upset us and what do we do?  We shout at ourselves, we tell ourselves that we are fools, idiots.  At the very time when we need to be kind to ourselves we are kicking ourselves, at the very time when we need to show ourselves some compassion we are harsh and cruel.  We don’t need enemies, we are our own worst enemy.

And so, ACT reminds us at such tricky times to be careful, to be aware.  Language is very powerful.  Because we are human beings we are verbal beings and we can use language to hurt ourselves or to help ourselves.  When we are hurting inside it is all too easy to turn on ourselves, to berate ourselves, to make things much worse.

Learning to accept ourselves, to be kind to ourselves is so much more effective. And we can start by replacing those harsh and cruel words with words of loving kindness.

I wrote “WORDS OF LOVING KINDNESS” to remind me of this!


  • How good are you at being good to yourself?
  • Are the words that you say to yourself words that you would like to hear?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.






Inside of us we’re children still, e’en though it’s buried deep,

For despite all our achievements early memories we keep

Of the times when we were vulnerable, uncertain and afraid,

So remember we are children still despite the strides we’ve made.

And sometimes a something happens that will trigger childish fears,

Our grown-up mask is slipping as the little child appears

And it’s time now to be gentle, and some soothing words to find,

Put our grown-ups to good use and to a little child be kind.

And so let’s not act all impatient or be critical or cruel

Turn a talk between a grown-up and a child into a duel,

But remember little children don’t take kindly to abuse,

It’s the words of loving kindness that will be of better use.

And so next time a something happens and we feel the child within

Is beginning to act childlike let’s set out their trust to win,

Not by urging them to actions that they can’t for now fulfil,

But by saying we’ll be there for them and that we always will.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “WORDS OF LOVING KINDESS” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

Well the final word belongs to that fantastic article that I read first thing this morning and which inspired this post.

Is Self-Compassion More Important Than Self Esteem?

If you are in any doubt then I urge you to read the article.  Sometimes Self Compassion has had a bad press.  It can smack of selfishness, egocentricity, narcissism and all those other things which many of us have been taught are not “the right thing”, a sign of weakness.  And yet, a lack of self compassion may well be at the root of our problems.

In the article Hayes quotes Dr Kirstin Neff, one of the premier researchers in this area, by defining Self Compassion as, “consisting of three components during times of personal suffering and failure:

  1.  Treating oneself kindly
  2.  Recognising one’s struggles as part of the shared human experience
  3.  Holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness.

Given this context, the negativity or positivity of your thoughts isn’t what’s important.  It’s how you respond to those thoughts that matters.”

For an in-depth analysis of the subject I really do encourage you to read the article, but for me the final paragraph summed it up and I quote it here:

“It’s time for us to put down the idea that we have to think well of ourselves at all times to be mature, successful, functional, mentally healthy individuals. Indeed, this toxic idea can foster a kind of narcissistic ego-based self-story that is bound to blow up on us. Instead of increasing self-esteem content what we need to do is increase self-compassion as the context of all we do. That deflates ego-based self-stories, as we humbly accept our place as one amongst our fellow human beings, mindfully acknowledging that we all have self-doubt, we all suffer, we all fail from time to time, but none of that means we can’t live a life of meaning, purpose, and compassion for ourselves and others.” – Steven Hayes, PHD

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes