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The Mindset of Success: What I learnt from watching the final episode of Alone Australia

When it comes to reality TV shows in general, I'm not a huge fan, but there are some exceptions. I don't deal well with drama for the sake of drama, but for me, if there's personal challenge or growth involved, or if it's a new take on relationships, I'll suffer though the drama out of sheer curiosity (I won't tell you the shows I watch because you WILL judge me!).

Alone is a reality series that has it all: challenge, growth, building on relationships via self-reflection, and stunning scenery, without any petty drama at all, so when Season 2 of Alone Australia came out I was excited to get stuck in.

It was a great season. I won't give too many spoilers, but the ones that lasted to the final couple of episodes were very interesting to watch indeed!

Now fast forward to the final episode (I won't tell you who won but there is a spoiler alert here if you haven't watched it yet). The third runner up - or the second last to tap out - was someone who is clearly very competitive and likes to win. He was a very skilled contender and obviously had great experience, great resilience and massive capacity to push himself.

He decided to tap out because he realised his body would no longer be able to sustain itself without having a serious impact on his health. He hadn't been able to find enough food to sustain enough physical and mental function to procure any more food and made the decision to leave. A perfectly reasonable decision, and one which most people would respect considering the circumstances. He had challenged himself until he physically and mentally couldn't anymore- there was no giving up or willpower involved- nothing that could be considered a cop out.


When the boat came to get him and he did the final interview before getting on and heading home, the producers asked him if he was proud of himself, and his response surprised me.

He said 'Not yet.'

To most people, he would have an immense amount to be proud of. Putting his hand up for the show, being selected, getting so far with so little, being generally way more 'hard core' than most people I've ever met. But he wasn't proud of himself yet.

I obviously can't speak to his thoughts or why he'd responded that way, but it did make me think of the countless people I've come across who would respond in a similar way in many situations.

I see it often: because they didn't get the 'best' outcome (whether that be winning, reaching a goal, being selected for a job, doing something to a certain standard etc), they don't let themselves be satisfied with any of the outcome.

I didn't win because I lost.

I failed because I didn't get all the way.

I'm not competent because I wasn't selected.

It's almost as if the belief is 'if any part of what I did was a failure, none of it can be a success'.

In my opinion, he did the best he could with what he had. The location, the available resources, the mental capacity based on his caloric and nutritional intake (or lack thereof). The mistakes that he made were all impacted by these things, and yes, he would have made better decisions in previous situations, but in previous situations he probably had eaten a whole lot more in the days and weeks leading up to it. He realised at the end that he couldn't physically do any more to get any further, safely. Again, in my opinion, that's the best possible reason for tapping out if your goal remains to stay as long as you can.

But for him, in spite of all of these considerations, it seemed that the thought behind his response was 'because I tapped out and didn't win, it means that I failed and I can't be proud of that'.

Many of us see success and failure or winning and losing as opposite ends of a very short scale. We believe, based on the final outcome, that where we sit on that scale is definitive and you can only be one or the other.

What those people don't see is that you can win and 'fail' at the same time. One aspect could be considered a failure (in this case, not being the last one standing) but other aspects could easily be considered a win: learn, progress, did my best, did better than I could before, kept going in the face of adversity, got as far as I could or took a chance.

He did his physical and mental best. He did better than 7 other contestants, he survived for over 50-something days with only 10 items and what ever the land could provide. He constantly learnt and adapted, and he never gave up. That to me is a whole lot to be proud of.

The thing is, in my experience, there's no real benefit to seeing yourself as failure. There's nothing inspiring about it. Yes, failure may motivate you to do better next time, but hundreds of other things can motivate you to do better next time too. Your choice to do better next time is a choice to do better next time- it can just as easily be motivated by excitement, learning, your values or desires as failure or any other negative emotion can.

In fact, acknowledging your successes, no matter how small, has been shown to be much more effective in reaching subsequent goals, than beating yourself up does.

That's why I spend so much time with my clients and in workshops focusing on your 'wins'. The things you've achieved, progress you've made and lessons you've learnt in your lifetime. They often seem insignificant, or not worth counting, but the impact of acknowledging them regularly is much more motivating than the alternative: never feeling like you're enough.

Unfortunately I see much more of the latter, which is exactly why I do (and love) what I do.

For the contestant, I hope he does look at the many things he has to be proud of from his experience on Alone. For you, I hope you look at the many things you have to be proud of in your life, and keep looking at them. If that's not something you currently do, I hope this inspires you to see what happens if you change your focus, even if it's just a little bit.

You are absolutely worth it.

If you'd like to know more about workshops or coaching services to help you or your team change your perspective on success, reach out to us at or visit our website

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