Success is not always what it seems.
Steven Spielberg had his share of failures and setbacks before becoming successful. So did Walt Disney and Michael Jordan. Arianne Huffington, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates experienced many ups and downs before they became successful in their respective fields. Henry Ford and Steve Jobs also had a bumpy journey to success. These icons are perfect examples that the road to success is anything but smooth.
Failure is inescapable and inevitable. There is no denying it or escaping it. No one is immune to it. No matter how good you are in your field or area of expertise, there is no guarantee or immunity against failure nor is there a surety that you’ll succeed the first time around or make it every single time.
Failure is bitter no matter how you see it. The sting of a letdown, the agony of experiencing disappointment and the pain of defeat is hard to endure. In plain words, failure sucks. It crushes you, hurts you deeply and leaves your ego bruised. There is no feeling worse than having hit rock bottom. No wonder everyone dreads failure, but keep in mind that no amount of hating or detesting it can help you avoid it.
Failure is a part of life and the success process. J.K Rowling, the bestselling author with the phenomenal rags to riches story, has beautifully summed it with this line: ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.’
But, failure doesn’t have to discourage, demoralize you or end your success journey. Looking at it in the right perspective, failure doesn’t mean it’s all over. It just means that you didn’t succeed this time around.
Sometimes you’ll face situations where the odds are stacked up against you. Other times, despite your best efforts and preparation, you will still experience failure. You have to train yourself to be tough, take the hits and be able to deal with it all.
Failure can work for you big time if you look at it the right way. It, by itself, is not detrimental. What is damaging about failure is its paralyzing effect once you let it get to you. Your chances of recovering from failure and regaining lost confidence depend heavily on how you approach it.
Failure doesn’t care about how you feel. It makes no concessions. It only throws two choices in your way: either give up or fight again. It’s up to you to decide and take the call. You can choose to opt for the easy way out, step back and quit or make the hard choice of picking yourself up, getting back on your feet and starting all over again. The right choice will help you steer yourself towards success and transform your life.
Here are 11 ways you can bounce back from failure and get back on track again.
1 Accept what happened
The first thing you should do after you have failed is to accept it and come to terms with it. Don’t ignore, deny or hide it. You have failed and there’s nothing you can do to reverse it now.
Accept it and know that it’s okay. Failure happens all the time. It’s no big deal if you accept it and decide to do something about it. That’s how you start learning how to overcome failure.
2 Take total responsibility
Own your failure. There’s no shame in it. Everyone fails sometimes.
Things won’t always pan out the way you want them, but the sole responsibility should always be yours to take. You must be accountable for your actions, choices, and decisions. Never blame others and hold them responsible for your failures. Passing the buck is a sure recipe for disaster.
3 Analyze what happened
You cannot undo what happened, but, by taking stock of what happened, you can dispassionately assess and gain insight into what went wrong and where. It will also enable you to understand what worked and what didn’t so that you can begin with a whole new approach.
Analyzing can help you in revising your strategy, preparing yourself, working on your weak points and improving your future performance. It will also give you the confidence to bounce back and begin more confidently.
4 Learn from your mistakes
There is much truth in the words of Henry Ford when he said that the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Failure teaches you like none other can teach you. You must learn from your mistakes and ‘heed the lessons of failure’, as Bill Gates put it.
Make the best of your mistakes. Embrace them, learn from them and never repeat them. Identify your weaknesses, work on them and turn them into your strength.
5 Don’t dwell on failure
The worst way to deal with failure is to take it to heart. What has happened has happened. No amount of crying, complaining or regretting can help you overcome it.
So, stop ruminating over it, re-running it in your mind and feeling sorry for yourself. It will not serve any useful purpose and will only take you deeper into sorrow and unhappiness.
6 Get over it; Move on
Failure is ‘a temporary detour, not a dead-end’, as Denis Waitley, the American bestselling author is once known to have said. Failure only lasts until you succeed again. So, don’t let it become permanent and scar your psyche.
A negative feeling cannot have any positive outcome. It is best forgotten. Wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start. Look ahead, move on, and give yourself a chance to recover and rebuild yourself.
7 Develop mental toughness to triumph over failure
Setbacks should not dishearten or break you. Failure is not an end in itself so, don’t let it steal your confidence. Train yourself to take bad hits in life. Use failure to learn, grow and better yourself. Maintain a positive attitude in the face of failure. That’s how you can strengthen your mental toughness.
8 Jump into a positive frame of mind
When you face defeat, you are engulfed by fear and self-doubt. Failure brings with it a dark cloud of negativity. You begin to question yourself and start to doubt your ability. Positive thoughts are the last thing on your mind and that’s how it is. Recovery and rebounding
Recovery and rebounding take time. To facilitate and make the process faster, you must fight all negative thoughts that cross your mind and fill yourself with positivity. Look back and reflect on your own life how you faced past failures and overcame them.
Nothing can inspire you more than your personal experience and your own success story. You know you have dealt with it before and can do it again.
9 Let go of fear
When you fall down, you can’t go further down. So, what is there to fear?
From there, you can only move towards the positive direction. So, get up, gather your broken pieces and start building yourself again. Success is achieved by those who don’t fear failure. Don’t let failure hold you back or stop you from realizing your dreams.
10 Focus on bettering yourself
Everyone faces failure but how you look at it and what you do about it is what makes all the difference. In most cases, failure happens because a person wasn’t able to prepare well, didn’t plan properly or was ill-equipped. It can also be because he’s just plain unlucky.
Disregarding the last one, everything else can be fixed. So, make a list of all the things which you think contributed to your failure and start working on them, one thing at a time. Do everything within your power to rectify, resolve, improve, develop and put right.
11 Begin again
Failure can devastate you if you allow it to. It can also help you rebuild yourself and restart your journey if you choose to.
Failure shouldn’t be the end of your dreams, goals, and aspirations. The power of failure should motivate you to chase your goals, take a fresh start and make a new beginning. Let failure make you stronger, tougher and more resilient so that you don’t just survive it but you’ll bounce back stronger.
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