This comes from the presuppositions of N.L.P. If you’re familiar with those you’ve probably already guessed that the presupposition that related to the title of this article is: ‘there is no failure, only feedback’. The presuppositions are convenient beliefs that are taught on our NLP Practitioner training in North London and Hertfordshire.

This is one that I’ve revised my thinking of over time. There is I believe, the opportunity to fail because some of our efforts are limited by time. The universe works in a way that means sometimes you cannot recreate the very same circumstances of the opportunity you missed because sometimes you only get one shot. Time comes along and takes away the potential for a repeat event and this, if you cannot adapt your plan to the new circumstances, leads itself to failure.

When it comes to not letting setbacks set you back, remember: it’s only a setback if you call it a setback. If you say: ‘This is feedback. It is extra information about how not to do the thing I want to do. This is another way of ‘how not to do it’ now it becomes additional information perhaps even useful information for you to have had that set back.

If there are no setbacks and only ‘feedbacks’ then it seems so much more positive, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m cheating you by only giving you that in terms of an N.L.P. type solution so I thought I’d do some research on the one and only thing that can be used for research and development of world-wide information. I went to Google!

In Google I typed in a few different things and began by considering what does a setback mean? Is it when you wish something hadn’t happened and you wish it had worked out better for you? That is probably about right. It’s the experience of “Oh if only it turned out properly”, “If only it hadn’t gone wrong,” “If only this hadn’t happened.”

As I typed into Google ‘I wish it hadn’t happened’ just to see what would come up, there were 4,070,000 entries for ‘I wish it hadn’t happened.’ This raised a question in my mind – are there more people wishing something hadn’t happened than there are people wishing that something had.

And which is better? Is it better to think ‘oh God I wish that terrible thing hadn’t happened’ or is it better to be thinking ‘I wish I’d tried that little bit harder. I wish I’d gone that extra mile. I wish I’d given it a shot’. Are there more people regretting things that shouldn’t have happened, than there are people regretting things that could have happened? Are there more people regretting the things that they should have done and didn’t do?

So, I then went to Google and typed in: ‘I wish it had happened’ and the result was quite interesting. There were 147,000,000 entries for ‘I wish it had happened’.

There are so many more people wishing for things that haven’t happened but wished they had, than there are people wishing that it hadn’t happened, when it did.

I wonder then if setbacks really are ‘set ups’. If there are perhaps opportunities for comebacks.

Isn’t that just another way of saying that there is no failure and only feedback?

You can learn more NLP Presuppositions on the NLP Practitioner training which takes place in North London and Hertfordshire.


By Gemma Bailey