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Life Skills

How to deal with failure

By August 22, 2012March 23rd, 2021One Comment

7 ways to deal with failure. Is it the end of the world? Let me ask you a question, and be honest with yourself. What have you failed at in life? Is there something you tried to do and it went belly up? Maybe an exam, a degree, or business that you tried, but failed. Maybe a relationship or job. That thing you hoped would be a success, ended in failure.

Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. Wikipedia

Judging by the meaning of the word failure, it’s worth noting that failure is a state or condition. This shows us that it can come and eventually go, like any condition. So who decides the state? Its not like a cold that comes uninvited and then leaves after a spell of vitamin C, hot drinks, and bed rest. But instead the state of failure is decided by us, and the duration of its stay is also decided by us. The reason for this is found in the definition “not meeting a desirable or intended objective”. We are the ones who decide what is desirable and what we view as success. Maybe others tried to tell us that Gold is the only winning spot on the platform, yet to others like the Saudi Arabian runner Sarah Attar in the London Olympics 2012, success was simply being able to race, and anything after that was a bonus for her. The first female to represent Saudi Arabia in the Olympic 800 metres.
My point is, it is us who decide what is qualified for failure and success. This can be affected by what other people expect of us, but we shouldn’t let what others expect become such a strong voice, for it increases pressure to perform for their approval. This pressure we put ourselves under can have a negative effect. As a result of us understanding that success and failure are based off these elements, and knowing its mainly our own perception that decides on what is a failure, let’s look at how to recover from a failure.

7 ways to deal with failure:

1: Keep your expectations grounded and balanced

We all remember as a child wanting to be an astronaut, walk on the moon, and then on the side be a super hero at night. However it proved to be an unrealistic creation of the imagination. BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t dream dreams or have big expectations in life as we get older. We need to think outside the box, never limit ourselves. However, it’s wrong when our joy is dependent on that goal. Never equate goals with your joy. For if you head for that goal and then it fails, so does your joy. Be content in your present, anything after that is a bonus, just like the Arabian runner. Be happy as you pursue your goals, but not dependent on the goals to be happy.

2: Learn from your defeats

The truth is you will fail at things. Some your fault, others not your fault. Either way learn from your mistakes. Learn how to prevent the same thing from happening again. There is a saying I often hear quoted “failure is not falling down, buts its the refusing to get back up”.

3: Friendships

Nobody is meant to be an island. Maybe you are a strong successful person right now, but someday you are going to need help. Building friendships is not just so you have a life line in the future. It’s another perception on things, an opinion, another voice to the voice inside your head. We may fail at times and its then we may need somebody to help us get over it. You will need support in life and no better support than a friend that cares. Life isn’t all about you.

4: What about Hope

Learn to look for the hope in things. This may have failed but we learned what not to do. So have hope you won’t make the same mistake again. Or hope that something better is coming.

5: Look longterm, Look forward

This tough time will pass. Look to your future and realise that there is no point in letting this failure effect the rest of your life. For example even if you win the gold medal, then what? There is more to life. Focus on your strengths and previous successes. Failure is not the end of the world even if it feels like it. There will be a time of feeling low, but let it be for a time and not an eternity. It doesn’t matter what age you are, life is for living. Maybe you could help people going through what you are going through. This could be your time of comeback, your time of shaking off the dust and really start living again. Failure is a condition, we decide the duration, we possess the remedy. To move forward we must look ahead, not behind.

6: Everybody makes mistakes

Its true, we all get it wrong from time to time. You may feel like you’ve failed, but my reply is “so what”. It is what it is, so what are you going to do about it. You cannot change the past, but you can change the future. With some effort and discipline, you can do it. It’s possible, not impossible. It may be hard to forget, but they’re only thoughts that may come and go. You choose whether you want to dwell on negative or positive.

7: The task failed

You tried to accomplish something, and rather than you succeeding, you failed. The point to note is “the task failed”, does not equate to you being a failure. You got it wrong does not mean you always get everything wrong. We can easily slip into this catastrophe thinking if we allow ourselves. Thoughts like “I’m hopeless” or “I’m a failure”. The reality is you may have failed, this is not a general consensus about who you are as a person. Failing a task or challenge doesn’t make you a failure overall. Everybody will fail at something, but that doesn’t mean they are failures at everything. Also worth noticing is failures can help us reach success by pushing us harder the next time. I think the quote from Thomas Edison says it perfectly when he was speaking about inventing the light bulb
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Life is like a race, it’s not the start, or the middle, but it’s how you finish…if you fall get up, if you fail keep trying…its not about the position, it’s about finishing well.

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