By looking at the richest and most successful people in the world, you might think that they’ve never encountered failure in their lives. That generally isn’t true. Aside from people born into wealth – who are free to make as many mistakes as they like without suffering financial consequences – most successes are built on the back of previous failures. Failure – whether in business or in our personal lives – is an inevitability. It’s what we do with those failures, and how we learn from them, that define us.
There are many examples of people who’ve recovered from past failures, and gone on to achieve stellar success. Simon Cowell, who is now a world-famous record label boss with a string of successful television shows to his name, almost went bankrupt and had to move back in with his mother when he was 30. Ten years later, he was a millionaire. So long as you have a plan, and you’re able to adjust your mindset, there’s almost always a way back from a failure if you set your mind to it.
If things haven’t gone your way, the most important thing to accept is that you are not a failure. An idea might fail, and at some point in your life, an idea will fail. That’s different from you being a failure. So long as you can come up with another idea, you haven’t failed. Here are a few tips for straightening your head out after you’ve suffered a setback.
- Try Again If You Believe In It
If you’re absolutely certain something is a good idea, keep treating it as a good idea. Just because something has failed once doesn’t mean it will always fail – the circumstances just might not have been right. JK Rowling’s original ‘Harry Potter’ book was rejected by twenty different publishers before someone finally agreed to pick it up. She wasn’t wrong about her idea – those twenty publishers were. All of them will have come to regret their error.
Although first-time successes do happen, they’re the exception as opposed to being the rule. Most new ideas take a while to catch on. Treat your struggling idea like gamblers treat a game of mobile slots that isn’t going their way. Hardly anyone finds a winning combination with their first spin of the reels on a mobile slots game. They just have to carry on repeating the same motion until luck changes direction, and the slots casino UK they’re playing pays out some winnings. If you know for certain that your idea is good, keep going with it. Don’t let one rejection or setback put you off.
- Extract Lessons From It
When something has failed, your first instinct is probably to put it down to bad luck, or someone else’s fault. We all like to do that, because it’s easier on our ego than accepting we might not have been right in the first place. On reflection, we’ll probably find that there are things that we could and should have done better. That’s why allowing yourself a period of reflection is important.
Take the time to analyze exactly how and why things went wrong, and what – if anything – could have been done to avoid the failure. If you can identify what went wrong, then the process hadn’t been a failure at all – it’s been a trial run. Now, you can refine the process, and you can try again while eliminating the wrong steps you took last time around.
- Let It Go
There’s a big difference between allowing for a period of reflection, and dwelling on a mistake. The former is an important part of processing whatever’s just happened. The latter is wallowing in your own misery, indulging in self-pity, and inhibiting your own future positivity. When a mistake has been made, it’s gone. You can’t change it, and you can’t go back in time and make different choices. Spending time lamenting the failure is wasting your own time, and extending your recovery period.
You cannot change the past, and that statement will remain true until somebody invents time travel. You can, however, change the future. Once you know for sure that you’ve learned everything you can from your failure, put it to the back of your mind and start afresh. Don’t let it cling to you, and don’t cling to it.
- Stop Seeking Approval
Whatever else has happened, this is your failure to process. That means the opinions of others – unless they were directly involved in what went wrong – are useless to you. Sadly, some people love nothing more than schadenfreude, and will revel in your failure. They’ll talk about it, they’ll tell others about it, and they’ll mock you for it. If you’re conscious of this, it can make it hard for you to accept your failure at all. You’ll clam up and close yourself off.
This isn’t healthy. The opinions of others – except those who are actively trying to help you – should mean nothing to you. They did nothing to try to help you succeed, so why you should you seek their approval by trying to justify your failure to them? Don’t listen to negative voices, and don’t seek to please others. It’s your life, it’s your failure, and next time around it’ll be your success.
- Make A New Plan
OK, you’ve failed. It happens. What do you do next? The longer you go without a plan, the harder it will be to get over the emotion you’re currently experiencing. An emotional approach is normal – failure is an emotional subject – but it won’t solve the problem for you. At some point, you have to go back to the drawing board and get your life back on track.
You need to decide what your ideal outcome is now that you’ve experienced failure. Whether that’s a different route to the same goal, or a completely new goal, write it all down, and identify the steps you need to take to get there. Make the first step a small one; something you can achieve quickly and easily. Once you’ve done that, you’re no longer experiencing failure- you’re a step closer to your next success.
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