Responding to Failure
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
‘Failure’ is subjective. For some, failure is something substantial - like a failed relationship. For others - like me - failure can be something small - like miscommunication at work leading to slow progress.
I guess it’s safe to define failure as something that makes you feel like you were below par.
Why is it important to fail? Life is not a bed of roses. It will bring you challenges - familial, financial, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. Hence, it is important to build the failure-resistant muscle.
For me, the way I deal with failure is to suspend emotions and be generous with myself. The internal sergeant is adept at jumpstarting into deprecating self-talk. I believe this happens more in people who:
Set high standards for themselves
Have a tendency to spend a lot of time in their head
Don’t say a lot
This sergeant will say the following things to you:
How could you be so silly?
You’re not good enough for this.
You’ve made a big blunder!
Respond to the sergeant in the following ways:
Take it easy, it’s not such big a deal
It is not about me, the person
It is more about the idea associated with me
I will use this tension constructively
Tension means that the situation is stretching you in one direction
It is up to you to decide that direction
OR use the tension to learn and improve
Once the sergeant is quiet, I typically do the following:
Write my thoughts down
Reflect on them
See the situation objectively
Internalise how I can learn from this situation.
Some wise person has said - “failures are failures only if you don’t learn from them”.