The secret recipe to turning setbacks into success.

Einstein – a man synonymous with genius level intelligence, whose life’s work is known all around the world – actually couldn’t really speak well until after age 8. We’ve probably all heard how he was denied entry to school for not being “smart enough”, yet he is a pioneer of the theory of general relativity. He understood physics, gravity and mathematics, the inner workings of our existence, more than most ever will in their entire lifetime.

Which begs the question… how does someone go from ineligible for basic school to a world-renowned genius? 

I have a theory about the proper elements, the variables, the ingredients, required to go from failing to winning the Nobel Prize, something a recent conversation had me thinking about. Brenda Neckvatal is an expert on all things HR and she joined me on my show to break down the secret success recipe we all need, the same one Einstein employed.

It’s A Process
In the 90’s, with the surge of TV and “reality” on the screen, we started becoming a society who craved instant gratification. We started to believe that what we saw on television WAS reality and that it would happen overnight. There is an entire generation of disappointed adults who were taught that “famous” was a future, and who thought MTV was going to be their future.

Einstein was quoted as saying, “Success is failure in progress.” He learned, through his failures, that the only way to get to the finish line of his many theories and experiments was to work through the setbacks and failures.

Be Willing to Let Go
So often, we settle in on an idea or a thought, or we stick to our guns on how we think things should be, and we lose sight of the end goal or the potential for success. As Brenda put it, “We have to be willing to let go of what we think we know. What you think and what you know are two entirely different things.” 

I couldn’t agree more – this commitment to only certain facts or thoughts creates blind spots where we miss other important variables and potential directions, creative opportunities, outcomes or solutions.

We’re All Human
Myself, Brenda, You… we’re all regular humans. Just like Einstein. We have the capacity to be average or to be above-average. And the differentiator is effort. I am a student of life. I never want to stop learning and I never want fear to keep me from life lessons, even if that means I suffer a setback on the way. Einstein applied effort. Over and over again. No matter what others told him. No matter how many setbacks. He knew in his heart that he wanted more from life, and while it might be weird to think about Einstein as this student of development, that’s exactly what he was.

Reframe and Reset
In all of our resilience research over the years, what we’ve repeatedly found is that the most resilient people are the ones who reframe on a regular basis. Reframing is looking at a situation and mining for wisdom and opportunity. It’s knowing you can survive and that there’s a better life out there. This creates space to re-establish and re-identify what boundaries make sense in that moment. Navy SEALs call this, “embracing the suck”. Looking square at the things making you feel bad or suppressed, and coming up with a new way to deal with it or look at it.

The best way to reset is to create space and time to allow the process to happen. During this process, we can watch for what is working – just like an experiment – and get rid of what isn’t.

Success is a byproduct of failure. Every time you try to turn the other cheek, the other one gets smacked. It doesn’t work to try and avoid the uncomfortable things in life. It comes back around and around… and around until you face it. Success is a magic recipe of time, money, resources, and effort. And those pieces come together when we can reset, reframe and trust the process.

“Sometimes we catch ourselves saying things like, “I suck at this…” when a simple reframe and reset could take you into a space where you have clarity around what you need to learn to succeed.” -Brenda Neckvatal

We are capable of existing in a way where we are okay not getting it the first time. Einstein lived this and because of that simple reframe, he achieved amazing things in his lifetime. He learned the recipe of success – apply effort, trust the process – even the uncomfortable parts – create space to reframe –  reset – and repeat.