Do not let past failures affect your present

  • Samir Parikh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2016 20:50 IST
Your past experiences can teach you a lot so don’t let them overwhelm you. (Shutterstock)

Here are some tips from Dr Samir Parikh, who is the director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare, on how we can learn from failures.

We often find that past events continue to haunt us in the present and also impact our future. This is most apparent with negative instances. Such situations are sometimes inevitable as every individual’s experiences undoubtedly shape the person’s perceptions and behaviour in the present. However, it is important not to let the failures of our past cast their shadow over our present. The following points could be kept in mind:

Learn from your experience: Your past experiences can serve as a learning experience for you, rather than becoming a repetition. In fact, your past experience can help you ensure that you do not repeat the mistakes you have made previously, and therefore reduce the chances of a similar failure to recur.

Avoid comparisons: We often tend to compare the present situation with our own experiences in the past, and this is being unfair to the present. Instead, we should look upon each day in its own light as it brings with it a new set of opportunities and avenues.

Be realistic: Remember, it is human to make mistakes. There are bound to be numerous factors that could contribute towards a failure, and we need not blame ourselves solely. In fact, it is very unrealistic to expect yourself to always ­succeed.

Don’t dwell on the past: Often, a failure seems so big that it tends to preoccupy our mind. But it is important to realise that simply dwelling on your past failures will not change them. Instead, we should try to evaluate what went wrong, and what can be done in the present to make a difference in the future.

Let go: At the same time, it is also important to accept our own shortcomings and weaknesses. An objective evaluation of our own abilities can help us let go of the past failures that are daunting us, and can help us set more achievable goals in line with our potential skills and capabilities.

Read more: Learn from your failures

Talk about it: Finally, there are many times when we feel incapable of handling the pressures of our own past failures. It is important not to hesitate to talk about it, as we need to seek support.

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