7 Ways to Deal with Failures and Setbacks

When you consider life’s sufferings to be the privilege of living, there’s no better way than to celebrate failures and setbacks as opportunities.

So, we know failures and setbacks build and strengthen our character.

But my god, isn’t it the toughest thing to go through every time we fail at something?

Whether it’s a job interview or a nasty breakup, it feels like the worst thing that could happen, happened.

There will be other job opportunities, possibly better ones.

There will be better suited potential life partner awaiting at the other side of um… Tinder, definitely a better one (I think). 

But when we’re riding through stormy emotion from failures and setbacks, the feeling is so intense we can’t see a thing.

It feels like a fresh wound has opened up. We feel sore and pain all over again (and nothing else).

I know you can’t help it.

But here’s one way of looking at it that might help us deal with such emotion.

If you’re a regular reader (thank you!), you probably know one of my core messages by now.

One surefire way of shifting your perspective from life’s sufferings is knowing that they’re the privilege of living.

We have the luxury of facing failures and setbacks because we’re standing on this side right now.

We have a life we want to make sense of and make the most of (unlike many unfortunate people).

With that well-intended intro, if I say so myself, below is how I deal with failures and setbacks in life.

How to Deal with Failures and Setbacks

1. Watch Out Your Impulsive Reaction

Disappointment and despair from failures and setbacks can make you lash out and take impulsive action that you’ll regret the very next day.

Recognise what you feel but be mindful of taking immediate action.

Your feeling is valid.

But the bitter feeling is also super raw. You’d be wise to withhold action during this emotionally charged time.

I learned this while entertaining a dangerous thought some time ago.

Maybe I should delete all my blog posts and start over.

Can you believe it?

I thought about removing almost 200 blog posts because I was that frustrated with my blog.

Phew, I’m glad I didn’t act on it.

I sure would have regretted it had I followed it through.

2. Take a Break from Work

If your work causes you frustration and intensifies the feeling of failures, switch off.

Gazing at the computer will not help you.

Nope, it’ll make you more frustrated.

Most times, keeping a physical distance is the most effective way of removing negative feelings.

I tamed my irrational mind of deleting blog posts by watching and listening to a few motivational talks on YouTube.

3. Know that ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’

As hard as it may sound to accept, failures and setbacks can be excellent indications that what you’ve been trying isn’t working.

Wouldn’t it be infinitely better to know the truth now and try fresh things than do the same thing over and over and realise it much later?

Right now, I feel like climbing up from the bottom of a mountain, getting lost several times after taking wrong turns and still unable to figure out the right path to the summit.

In your endeavours, you too will probably poke several ways to reach your destination.

Through this process, we constantly find what’s not working. And that’s what failures and setbacks are for.

And after marking down all the wrong ways through failures, we’re bound to find the right path!

4. No One Cares Whether You’re Failures

Whether you’re rejected or ignored, other people don’t care about your failures and setbacks.

They’re busy with their own life troubles and their dreams.

And that’s a good thing.

Don’t add other unnecessary negative emotions such as embarrassment or shame on top of what you’re going through.

Those emotions are purely what you create with no base. So remove them from your mental space right away.

Others forget about you quickly.

So should you.

5. The Bitter Feeling Gets You Down, Not Failures and Setbacks

Seriously, failures and setbacks are splendid things.

They make you become better at problem-solving. They make you push your limit and grow. 

We never fail at things we’re already good at.

Failing means we’re into unfamiliar territory. Something we never tried before.

It would be odd not to fail at the first or second attempt!

What really gets you down is the negative feeling associated with failures and setbacks.

Which means how you react to failures and setbacks matters most.

Remind yourself attitude is everything.

When I feel down, I choose my focus word to be ‘Success’ because I don’t want to allow any other negative thoughts.

Choose one word for yourself. Keep repeating the word. It’ll help you remove the negative feelings and focus on building the right mindset.

6. Believe In Yourself

It can be super tough to believe in yourself when things don’t work out the way you expected.

As long as you’re prepared to learn and experiment, there’s no reason to doubt yourself.

Everything is hard at first. 

When I first started blogging, everything took aeons.

I made mistake after mistake. It was frustrating, but with every attempt, I got better and better.

Everything can be learnable.

Believing in yourself induces you to action, creativity, positivity and so much more. 

7. Don’t Fall Into the Comparison Trap

Yes, some people may do certain things in 10 minutes while you take 40 minutes.

So what?

Let them do their own things and you do yours.

Today-You have the potential to win Yesterday-You every single day.

And that’s what we should aim for.

8. Listen to Your Hero’s Story

When you feel down, muddled with troublesome thoughts, it helps to know some other successful people have gone through exactly the same thing.

By learning how others overcame difficult times, you too can visualise finding your own path and reaching the summit!

Know that feeling of failures and setbacks stay as long as you let them.

And your hero’s story will surely get you out of a funk.

Final Thoughts

If things don’t go the way you envisioned, it’s high time to look at it from a fresh angle and try different things.

But do so without taking failures and setbacks personally. 

Recognise the bitter feeling is all there is to it, and you can remove it with the right focus word.

While doing so, approach failures and setbacks as opportunities to learn, solve problems, expand your horizons and grow.

And did I say that all human sufferings are the privilege of living?

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