There are times when a goal we have been pursuing or a relationship we have been involved in does not seem to be productive or causes us a tremendous amount of emotional pain. We stubbornly hang in there even after realizing there is no hope for a positive outcome and the emotional pain is harming us emotionally and sometimes physically. We refuse to give in and believe if we no longer pursue the goal or withdraw from the relationship we have somehow failed.
I don’t know how often I have heard a client say that the end of his/her marriage would cause them to feel like they failed. I know that many people believe that not reaching a goal or life not going as they planned meant they had somehow failed. They feel defeated. How many armies have retreated from a battlefield in order to regroup and create a better way to victory? They had time to rest, resupply, and find a better way to move forward. Retreating became a path to victory.
It is said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I just see it as a waste of time. I believe that sometimes a better way to deal with obstacles or troubling circumstances requires changing directions and forming new goals and a new plan that is more likely to result in an outcome that is more to our liking. Think of a running back in football changing directions in order to avoid being tackled, turning a loss into positive yards, and possibly making a touchdown. Learn from the experiences that did not turn out as you expected. Retreating isn’t being defeated. It gives us the opportunity to have success.