How To Bounce Back From Failure - Tips From A Pyschologist
Written and reviewed by
Hypnotherapist, DCS, BSIC, Advanced Trainee of Transactional Analysis, Advanced Skills in Counselling
11 years experience
HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM FAILURE
“It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure,” Bill Gates said. We always shower praise on those who have triumphed. Very rarely do we examine all the times the successful people have failed, and analyze how they turned their “luck” around. In this tip, you will understand how to turn failure into success and bounce back with more fervour.
1. A SUCCESSFUL MINDSET: If you’re striving to achieve anything then failure is inevitable. “Whenever you’re trying a new experiment, whether it’s a new job, a new product, a new hobby, a new boyfriend or girlfriend–whatever it is–you need to give some thought to what is your strategy and which are the possible ways to achieve it. Do you have any plan B or plan C if plan A fails? What will you do if nothing works out...and how to minimise the losses as well as taking advantage of the opportunities that you have. Assessing your opportunities and threats to success is very important. When a newly wedded girl comes to stay with her In laws, she might need to have a number of ways in her kitty to make her place in the new household rather than just stick to a few traditional ones. If one technique doesn't work, try something else. Disaster strikes when creativity is not given a place and failure was not factored in. Feeling helpless doesn't add upto success. Optimism is what people need to bounce back with.
2. LEARN AND IMPROVE WITH EACH FAILURE: Failure is just an opportunity to learn and improve. It’s a teaching moment that should be analyzed with a practical, clear mind. It helps to see mistakes as stepping stones to learning and improving and using it as an opportunity to bounce back. Every person should behave like a scientist with a mind open to exploring, assessing, making mistakes and changing. Mistakes must be embraced as being part of the process of success. If we don’t make mistakes it means that we’re not trying, and if we’re not trying then we’re not learning and getting better. Your self-worth should not rest on perfectionism, but rather value your ability to accept and learn from your mistakes. Not everyone is willing to admit when they’re wrong, which can hamper progress and relationships. When Meena and Arun started dating each other, they didn't know each other well and tried to impress each other in ways that was not working out well for both of them. It was very frustrating for them to see that their relationship was not working out. In counselling, they realised that they were not asking what each can do to impress the other. Meena told Arun that she would like to be taken out to plays and theatre by her future partner and Arun told Meena that he would like to take weekend trips to nearby destinations to get to know his partner well. When they both started doing what the other appreciated, they got to know each other better and relationship started blooming. Thus Arun and Meena assessed the situation, were open to discussion and found an amicable solution instead of thinking of their previous efforts as failure and giving up.
3. LOVE YOUR CRITICS: How do you feel when your work gets criticised repeatedly by your boss, manager or your husband. It mighty be hurtful and demeaning to hear critical feedback, but if many people are saying the same things about your work or behaviour, then maybe it's time to give it a serious thought. When Saira was often told that she wasn't cooperative enough in team activities and tends to slacken and pass on work to other members, her mind started working. She had got the same comments in her previous organisations. She started seeing a grain of truth in this feedback and took steps to rectify complaints that stood out common in all the feedbacks and reworked her way back to become a sought after team member. Her next years' appraisal was better and got her an increment. Saira triumphed, because she knew how to learn from criticism.
4. ACCEPT FAILURE AS AN IMPORTANT PART OF LIFE: Shivani was heartbroken when her 15 year old perfect son started doing badly in exams. Her world fell apart when she came to know that he had secured 73% in 10th grade. She felt that she had failed as a parent and her son as she had not devoted enough time to her son as she was a working mother. In counselling, she was asked if she knew any parent who had never failed their kids and were always there for them. Shivani couldn't come up with any names of such mothers who had been perfect to the core. Yes, that's how real mothers are...you will fail sometimes and you will win sometimes. Every moment you are real with your child, you are succeeding as a mother. Accepting failure as a part of life and knowing that you gave it your best shot is good enough. There's magic in feeling genuine regret rather than overkilling guilt and shame. Own your failure openly, publicly, and you'll reap a harvest of forgiveness, trust, respect, and connection—the things you thought you'd get by succeeding. Ironic, isn't it?
5. GO WITH YOUR GUT: When you see a red flag, pay attention. How many times in life have you kicked yourself for not listening to that little voice in your head that says, “Something is wrong here”?. Preetam gave an interview with an organisation, going by their market reputation. Yet during the interview, he picked up feelings of dissonance within the company. After joining them, he realised that his gut was right..the company was going through major shuffle and policy changes, which were not working out for Preetam.
6. BE A PROBLEM SOLVER AND STAY CALM: In a crisis, people tend to get anxious. Maintaining a sense of Zen will not only allow you to think more clearly but will also set the tone for those around you. Kapil used to get tensed over small details. He realised that in the larger scheme of things they were really not that important. He focussed his energies on things that were more important for him to reach his monthly targets. This started calming him down.
7. FIND A SOLUTION: You need to figure out how to address and remedy the situation. Start by considering your end game — what’s the ultimate outcome you’d like to see? — and work backwards from there. Daya wanted to be a good father to his children. He wanted them to remember him as a gentle and loving father. He started working backwards and his daily actions and behaviours showed to his children that Daya was a loving father. He played with them, took them for cricket coaching, went swimming, shared personal success and failures and most of all listened to them when they had to say something.
8. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR MISTAKES AND FAILURES: If you screwed up, don’t make excuses — just apologise genuinely for any errors on your part. Remember, that no one is perfect and it's human to err. Prema was a caring mother. She had many dreams about her daughter and wanted her to do well in studies and be a well behaved child of the family. But when her daughter started showing disinterest in studies and marks started falling, Prema used to beat up her daughter in her anxiety to do well. In counselling Prema understood that her intentions were good, but the way she communicated were not helping the situation as Prema's daughter hated her mother and maintained distance. Prema owned up her mistakes and apologised for her errors to her daughter. She also took remedial action to be accepting of her daughter and gave her the space to make her own mistakes and learn from them.
9. BECOME PROACTIVE: Don’t let a small mistake linger and turn into a bigger one. That’s not to say you should simply be reactive, but i f you know you did something wrong, deal with it right away. Say, for example, you stuck your foot in your mouth during an important business meeting and inadvertently offended your boss or a client. Acknowledge the gaffe, apologize and try to move on without beating yourself up. Remember that, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
10. DEFINE YOUR OWN SUCCESS AND FAILURES: Its important to have your own definition of both rather than how the world sees and defines success and failure. Find answers to questions like: How would you be behaving when you have succeeded, what must happen to feel successful, how will your life change when you are successful? Every person has a very different view and definition for success and making it your own definition can spell failure. Don't let the world tell you whether you have failed or succeeded. It's also excellent for self esteem and works as a protective shield from potential damage.
So, next time there’s that misstep, mistake or misunderstanding, remember to take a deep breath and be your own best publicist by remaining calm, seeking the solution and seeing the challenge as an opportunity to lead and learn.
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