We’ve all been there. Those moments of despair when, despite our best efforts, our business, job or relationship crumbles, often all at once. Is it possible to climb out of this dark valley? How to overcome failure?
Perspective and retrospective
The important thing is to look at failure objectively. It certainly helps to discuss the whole thing with another person. Ideally this should be someone who will listen to you and give you rational feedback without judging you or projecting their own traumas onto you. Life normally operates in phases, with alternating ups and downs. Often we are hard on ourselves, overlooking our successes while we exaggerate our failures, or vice versa. Sometimes failure is the occasion when we realize we want to do something completely different to we have been doing.
Athletes carefully assess their mistakes to discover what led to the poor result. Is it a series of bad decisions or one big mistake? What did you do right and what did you do wrong? What does it make sense to carry on and what does not? What have you stopped doing that has brought you down in the long run? What kind of people have you surrounded yourself with? Who did you listen to the most? To what extent could you really influence what happened? Maybe you did everything right, it just wasn’t the right time. Timing is the essence of success and should not be underestimated. Life isn’t always what we plan it to be. Be flexible and learn to accept it for what it is. The important thing is to look at the whole situation and what led up to it with detachment and self-reflection
It’s not about beating yourself up and sprinkling ashes on your head. Approach it as rationally as you can, even though the strong emotions are often flowing. You can’t control the lives of others, so the only thing you can really change is yourself and your attitude. All the successful people you so admire have been through those moments of truth. They may not like to talk about them, but they’ve all experienced them. None of us will ever move forwards without painfully admitting the truth.
Probably the hardest part is coming to terms with the fact that you may have hurt someone. Karma works here too, so the pain will still come back to haunt you no matter how much you fight back. It will take time to forgive yourself, but don’t forget that time is the best medicine. Even though you are not in an ideal situation, it is extremely important to persevere in your efforts. Every day get up and work on something meaningful so that you don’t waste precious time. When you feel better again, you’ll be extremely grateful to your former self.
We grow thanks to our failures, not our successes
Failure is an integral part of the learning process. Young children fall down precisely in order to learn to get up and walk correctly. Among other things, experts recommend not helping them get up, so if someone has refused to help you, they were actually doing you a favour. We fall down just enough times in our lives to learn something in particular, and we never encounter anything we can’t actually handle. The more we fall, the more we learn. Every crisis is an opportunity for growth. You will learn many things that will come in handy in the future, but most importantly, you will find that you are much stronger than you thought.
If you feel like your failures keep repeating themselves, you haven’t been through the necessary retrospection after each fall. One tends to repeat similar mistakes, but then you can work on this. Ideally, you will actually fall into the same hole again, but this time it will take less time to dig yourself out, and then the third time round you’ll want to give it a wide berth.
Here we come to the important point of not spending too much time on the floor. A lot of people wallow in failure longer than they have to, thus artificially prolonging their suffering beyond what they need in ordr to learn something new.
There are even those who quickly dust themselves down and carry on, but because they haven’t spent enough time in the hole to understand what got them there, they find themselves in it again after a while.
The need for change
Usually there is not one cause, but several factors that led to the failure. You need to address all of them, or you will end up on the floor again. The important thing is not to be angry with yourself, because falls are part of life. Self-pity or hatred only slows you down, but most of all it takes the joy out of life. Your goal should be to experience as much happiness as possible, both on the peaks and in the valleys, when we may not be successful, but we can still learn to dance in the rain.
The key point to get out of a series of failures is to change your thinking, and consequently your behaviour, in a certain area. There are activities and thoughts that are productive and lead to success, and you should focus on those. They may not be obvious at first glance, but that’s where failures are good because they reveal what doesn’t make sense, slows us down, or is detrimental to our lives.
This is also true inter alia of people. As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed, so during a crisis, everyone who has been with you for superficial reasons will drift away, and only those who genuinely like you and don’t mind that you’re on the skids will remain.
Changing your habits, beliefs and behaviour is not always easy, but it is possible. I shall also be devoting a whole article to this topic. The important thing is that you have learned through failure what you need to change, which is half the battle. Maybe now is the time to dust yourself down and go out into the world again. Since every pain overcome makes us stronger, you’ll go into it more experienced and stronger than ever.