How to Deal with Failure and Disappointment

Have you ever tried really hard to achieve a goal, but ended up failing miserably? It initially seemed as though you had all the answers and knew exactly what to do. At one point, things were actually going quite smoothly, but then suddenly, like a lightning bolt, everything just crashed to the ground. You are now filled with regret about what could or should have been. You of course didn’t deserve that failure, but it’s unfortunately not something that you can now change. But maybe you don’t need to change things. Just maybe failure can actually be quite helpful. Just maybe there is a more optimal way do deal with failure. Here are six steps that can help.

 


1) STAY COOL, CALM AND COLLECTED

When things don’t quite work out as expected and you suddenly find yourself facing failure, that is the moment you must keep your emotions in-check. What happened, has happened, and there’s nothing you can change. What you can however do is stay cool, calm and collected. Don’t make any assumptions or jump to silly conclusions. Don’t you even dare blame yourself for all this. You gave your very best, right? If that’s the case, then you have nothing to be ashamed about. What matters most right now is not what just happened, but rather how you respond to this predicament. That will make all the difference in the end.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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2) TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR YOUR FAILURE

In order to deal with failure in an optimal way requires proper perspective. However, before we even get to a point where we start seeing our failure as a helpful experience, it’s vital that we first take full ownership of that experience. This effectively means to stop complaining, to stop making excuses, and to stop blaming anything or anyone outside of ourselves. Instead, openly acknowledge what just happened and take full responsibility for your predicament. Taking responsibility is of course not about taking the blame. It rather means taking ownership and empowering yourself to take control of how you respond to this situation.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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3) ACCEPT THAT FAILURE IS PART OF LIFE

Let’s stop for a moment and take the time to consider how failure is simply a natural part of life. In fact, failure is life. Throughout human history, we as a species have failed time and again. We tried new and unfamiliar things, we attempted improbable feats, we pushed the boundaries of our comfort zones, and we failed miserably. But failure of course doesn’t mean the end of the road. In fact, failure can actually bring with it opportunities for reinvention, for new beginnings, and for refining our approach. It can bring with it new perspectives and understandings that can help us move forward in a better way.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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4) FIND REASONS TO KEEP GOING

To successfully deal with failure requires mental toughness and resilience. Failure is of course an emotionally taxing and brutal experience that completely derails all our efforts and best intentions. You’ve put in all this work for an extended period of time, and then to have it all suddenly crash to the ground just seems unfair. But then again, life isn’t fair. It doesn’t play favorites and certainly doesn’t always reward you for your efforts. But losing one battle doesn’t mean that you have lost the war. This is where you need to dig deep and find the strength within yourself to keep moving forward. Possibly there is a glimmer of hope yet to be found.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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5) LEARN FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE

Now that you are in a more resourceful state-of-mind, it’s time to learn from your failure. These lessons can of course help you to gather valuable insights and perspectives about your experience. Maybe things are not as bad as they seem. Potentially you can use this experience as a stepping stone toward something even better. However, before you make that a possibility, take a moment to consider why exactly you failed. Was it bad timing? Was it because of unrealistic expectations? Was it a lack of knowledge or experience? Or maybe you just didn’t have enough time, resources or support? Figuring out why you failed will help you outline your next steps.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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6) OUTLINE A NEW PLAN OF ACTION

Having taken a moment to learn from your experience, it’s now time to take those lessons on board and build a plan of action for moving forward. This of course might mean using this failure as an opportunity to refine your approach, to start over again with a new objective, or to use this experience as a platform for personal growth and reinvention. No matter which of these three paths you choose, it’s quite clear that your journey doesn’t end here. In fact, it’s only just beginning. What you do from here-on-in is completely in your hands. You can either quit, or you can choose to instead make the most of what initially seemed like a miserable situation.

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SIX STEPS FOR DEALING WITH FAILURE

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CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

When we succeed we celebrate, when we fail we contemplate. We therefore gain a whole lot more value from a failure than we do from our victories. But this of course doesn’t make failure any easier to deal with.

To deal with failure successfully takes introspection, perspective, courage and faith. It takes introspection to make peace with failure. It takes proper perspective to see the value in your predicament. It then takes courage to try and make the best of your situation, and of course faith to know that it will all work out in the end. When all four factors are in play, that is when you will know that you have what it takes to successfully deal with failure.


Six Steps for Dealing with Failure

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