Many people say failure is inevitable in life, and everyone will contend with it at one point or another. The most important aspect to coping with failure is how we respond to the pain or anguish it can bring.
What is failure?
There is no universal definition of the term failure, and what you consider as a failure may be regarded differently by another person. However, most will agree that failure represents the inability to accomplish a desired objective or result. Failure refers to goals that are important and meaningful to us.
The impact of failure
The inability to accomplish an objective can leave one sad, confused, and deeply frustrated. Not getting the highest grades on an exam after intense studying may leave a student devastated. Losing a job, investment, a spouse in a divorce, or even a loved one can instigate a feeling of personal or professional failure. Shock, denial, depression, and self-doubt are just a few negative emotions that come alongside such defeat.
Steps to overcoming failure
The good news is that failure can be the springboard to a brighter future and greater accomplishments. Here are 3 suggestions that may help you handle failure in a positive way.
- Change your mindset about failure
Many people over-personalize their setbacks and disappointments. They see their inability to accomplish certain goals as a personal indictment. Feeling lost, confused, and unmotivated, they judge themselves as not good enough and unable to make it. Break the habit of personalizing failure or thinking you are doomed to fail forever. Failure is a fact of life, and many great personalities in history experienced and bounced back from it.
By changing your mindset and putting things into perspective, you are in a better position to come back from an unsuccessful attempt. Meditation can help in the effort to de-clutter the mind and see things from a positive, fresh perspective.
2. Take responsibility
Many people search for excuses when they fail to achieve their goals. They find it convenient to blame others for what happened and in some societies, people resort to superstition and blame their woes on witchcraft. An employee who lost their job or got passed over for a promotion may blame it on their manager. But this person may not take into consideration all the factors that may have been responsible for the decision.
Whether it’s a failed relationship, health issue, or financial investment, bouncing back from failure means taking responsibility. It doesn’t mean blaming yourself and nitpicking about all the ways it could’ve been done differently — it simple means accepting the negative outcome, learning from the experience, and moving forward.
3. Understand the lessons
Failure can be a teacher if you allow it to be so. It gives us an opportunity to re-examine our goals and the steps we took towards achieving them. By analyzing the situation without sentiments, we are better informed about what went wrong. The fact that something failed suggests that there are aspects that require improvement. Learning a new skill in life can be a series of failures and successes. For example, a novice photographer learns to take better pictures through practice. The process of practice entails failure and success comprising of good shots and bad shots. However, after failing many times, the photographer understands what works and thus through the process of failing over and over has learned how to be a better photographer.
Failure can be a catalyst to greater things, but how you perceive it makes all of the difference. A good approach to bouncing back from failure is to adopt a positive mindset, no matter the outcome. Learn the right lessons and resolve to move ahead. That way you stand a better chance of returning to bigger and better things after an unsuccessful attempt.