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Frances Masters • Be Proactive • No Comments

Achieving Success: Proactive Solutions from the Zebra Spider

Believe you can and you're halfway there - Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes it feels like the road ahead is so cluttered with obstacles we can’t even see goals we may set for ourselves, let alone achieve them.

We’ve all been in situations where deadlines get pushed back, people let us down, or life just gets in the way.  Sometimes it’s just one setback, but often it feels like every possible thing that can go wrong with achieving a goal, does. We just keep falling short. These are the times when even the most resilient of us feel like it’s all getting too much. When that little voice  in the back of our head says “why don’t you just give up?”

Well before you do, take a minute to consider a rather unlikely source of inspiration: the proactive solutions of the zebra spider.

Redefining tenacity: a lesson from Salticus scenicus

Salticus scenicus, is a common or garden jumping spider, and, just like other jumping spiders, it does not build a web to catch its prey.

Instead, it uses its four pairs of oversized eyes to first locate prey and then uses its extraordinary jumping ability to pounce and capture it.

So this is where it gets inspirational. Before jumping, this amazing spider glues a silken thread to the surface that it is jumping from so that if it misses the target, it can easily climb up the thread and try again.

Better to do something imperfectly than nothing flawlessly

The message for proactive solutions is clear. Sometimes you have to act quickly. You may be successful. If not, you may need to draw on plan B!

By having a second or even third option, you remove the fear of failure.

As the saying goes ‘it’s better to do something imperfectly than nothing flawlessly.’

Yet so many people are paralysed by fear of failure and miss the opportunity for success.

5 Easy tips for ‘Failing your way to success’

Start a mistakes journal

Start noticing errors or missed opportunities, without dwelling on them of course . Being aware of what went wrong is the key to making it go right in the future. Track mistakes, notice correlations and learn to make good future choices.

In this way, you will continue to gain growing wisdom from experience and learn to make the right decision next time, a concept familiar to Albert Einstein.

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‘I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.’

Break down big goals into smaller ones

Why not set some SMART goals?

Nobody ever climbed a mountain in one leap! No one can eat an elephant in one bite! Learn to break down problems and issues into manageable steps.

You build a wall brick by brick. Consistency is the answer. It sounds so simple but just keep on keeping on. Have a sense of direction so you know you’re moving in the right direction.

Pick your battles

It’s common for people to jump into something with both feet, but take a step back and consider an action plan. Like the zebra spider, keep your eyes focused on the target but have a sense of the bigger picture.

Will the action you’re about to take move you closer or further away from your ultimate goal?

Embrace failure

It may sound counterintuitive, but our most progress happens when we’re out of our comfort zone. Failure is just a part of the road to success.

There was a time when you couldn’t walk. As a tiny baby, you pulled yourself up onto your feet and tried very hard to balance…before falling down!

And every time after that, when you fell down, you learned how not to walk. Every mistake set up a feedback loop in your body and your mind which sent the message ‘Next time, try it differently.’

As adults, we continue to learn by making mistakes. So mistakes should be expected and even welcomed, something the Zen Philosophers knew all about:

‘The principle is simple… from one thing comes another. So it is that before there can be mastery, there must be errors.’

Always have a backup plan

Like Salticus scenicus’ and its silken thread , you might need to have a backup plan ready for when something goes wrong.

Have plan B ready for when plan A goes belly up!

Expect failures. Embrace failures. They are a sign you are in new territory and, right at the edge of your comfort zone is where you begin to learn and grow.

So seize the opportunity for proactive solutions but, like the zebra spider, be prepared………

….rather than jumping and having to knit your parachute on the way down!

Whats your secret of success? Let us know below…

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.

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