Failure isn't the end of the world. Here we look at how to bounce back from our failures and turn them into success.
Everybody experiences failure in life, although, of course, nobody likes to admit it! Failure is seen as shameful - something to be hidden away and not acknowledged. But, in fact, many successful people say their epic failures were actually the impetus that propelled them onto ultimate success. The only way to avoid failure is to never strive for success - and if everyone played it safe, the world would be without any of the medical, scientific or engineering breakthroughs of the past century. So failure is a necessary part of working towards success. Try to see your inevitable mishaps as a way of learning where your talents lie; failures don't spell the end of your endeavours - they are just part of the process of discovering what works for you.
When your hard work ends in failure, initial feelings can be very painful. It can feel as if your world has come crashing down. Try this technique to regain your sense of perspective.
Seven Steps to turning your fortunes around
1) Failure is Temporary
In the emotional aftermath of a failure, it's easy to believe that you will be always doomed to fail. This destructive thought will only become true if you allow it to dominate your mind. In reality: failure is temporary. The next time you attempt a well-thought out idea, the likelihood is that you will succeed. Tomorrow offers you a fresh start to put this failure behind you and begin to create new successes.
2) Feel the Pain
Rejecting or pushing aside the hurt you feel at your failure is not healthy. You must process what has happened and allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings of pain about what has happened. Accepting and facing up to your negative feelings will allow you to deal with the situation head-on and then let it go, rather than letting feelings simmer under the surface, causing pain that is not acknowledged. Repressed emotions have a habit of resurfacing later with destructive consequences, anyway - so it's better to face them now.
3) Ask for help
Don't try to smile through the pain of failure, pretending everything is alright - you will eventually crack under the strain. Instead, you should be honest about how you are feeling. Confide in trusted family and friends to make sure you have all the practical and emotional support you need.
However, don't let the sympathy of family and friends allow you to retreat into the role of a victim. Take a couple of days at to recover, depending upon the situation, then start planning how you can bounce back instead of wallowing in pity.
4) Learn & Move Forward
Never dwell on failure. See it as part of your learning process and move on to new ventures.
Why did my plan fail?
What can I learn from this failure?
What would I do differently next time?
How can I move forward today?
5) Change your Attitude
If you see only problems, dead ends or negativity, that's exactly what you'll find, instead, believe you will create success and you are much more likely to do so. Don't let failure turn you into a pessimist. Adopting a 'realistic optimist' attitude has been shown to boost success levels. This means combining an optimistic, creative outlook with a realistic attitude of critical thinking and forward planning.
6) Seek Opportunity
A perceived failure can lead to new opportunity. For instance, losing your job is highly stressful and many people would perceive it as a failure. However, you could use this failure to re-invent yourself in a new career with better prospects and job satisfaction. Instead of allowing failure to dominate you in a negative way, see it as pushing you in a different direction to try something new and better.
7) Celebrate your Victories
No matter how small the victory is, when you achieve something positive allow yourself to feel grateful, pleased and happy at your success. Nurturing your small successes will give you the confidence to move on to bigger challenges and hopefully bigger successes.
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