It is unfortunate that today’s world is so competitive in nature that we are almost obsessed with success and achievement. Because of this pressure, experiencing a failure or a setback is often made out to be the worst possible thing that could have happened to a person. But the reality is that failure is an inevitable and inescapable part of life, both educational as well as personal. Expecting to sail through without a hiccup is unrealistic and sets you up to fall harder in case you are unsuccessful in a venture. Rejection is always rough, but our ability to deal with failure and rejection would determine how successful and happy we are. We need to stop avoiding failure, and instead focus on bouncing back by gaining the resiliency needed to cope with it.
Refocus on strengths: We should evaluate our performance, and try to improve upon our strengths. Identifying the positives would help us be more optimistic about the future. Most importantly, we should pay attention to, notice and appreciate our strengths. This helps us remind ourselves what we are good at.
Seek feedback, and acknowledge your mistakes: Instead of sitting and crying over spilt milk, we need to seek feedback to re-evaluate ourselves, and identify our weaknesses. It is necessary to find out where exactly we might have gone wrong, and also discover ways of improving upon these weaknesses, so we can learn from our mistakes.
Re-plan: Based on the feedback, we should review what failure has taught us, and restructure our plan for the future, incorporating better methods and trying not to repeat the mistakes of our past.
Expectations: While ­planning our goals, we must always keep in mind the possible factors that can influence the outcome. Often there are many ­extraneous ­factors that are not in our ­control. We need to acknowledge these possibilities within our ­realistic expectations, as nobody is ­perfect.
Social support: Experiencing failure often makes us feel stressed and overwhelmed and seeking support from our social networks helps us in de-stressing. Sharing our experiences can help us realise that we are not alone, as we all have to deal with our own share of failures. Talking it out with others often also helps us learn better ways of coping with failures, as we can also take lessons from others’ experiences.
Build resilience: We cannot be blindly optimistic in our outlook towards life. Instead of focusing only on the bright side of the picture, we need to remember to also realise the possibility of negative outcomes when planning our goals. We need to be able to forgive ourselves and move forward.
Be open to criticism: Finding out that you’re wrong about something need not always be taken to heart. Instead, it could be viewed as an opportunity to find an improved and better way. We need to always seek out further opportunities for growth and learning.
Don’t give up: We should never lose hope, because after every dark night, there is a brighter day. No matter how many times you have failed, with each attempt you are getting a step closer to success. So hold on tight, and don’t lose hope!
The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare