In these times of ubiquitous uncertainty, many people feel like everything is falling apart. Businesses fail, relationships are going through the trial of social distancing, loneliness and isolation are more intense than ever. For this reason, you may want to know how to deal with failure and uncertainty.
If you are feeling like a failure during this turbulent period, you are not alone. Whatever it is that you may have failed in, there are some things you can do to overcome it as quickly as possible and find the motivation to go on.
Hey, I know that you are tired of vague recommendations like ‘stay strong’ or ‘think positive’ that every single motivational article seems to feature. To be honest, they are not really helpful when everything goes wrong and you are feeling desperate. So I’m going to share with you a few actionable tips I use to deal with failure during these uncertain times. Hopefully, they will help you get through this difficult period.
How to Deal with Failure: 6 No-Nonsense Tips to Use When Everything Goes Wrong
1. Don’t overgeneralize
We often overgeneralize our situation when things go wrong and attribute the negative aspects of what’s happening to ourselves. Failing at something – especially during such challenging times we are living in – doesn’t mean that your whole life is a failure.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of beating yourself up for your wrong choices or a lack of foresight. You might be blaming yourself for the things you did or didn’t do, which led you here where you are now.
However, never label yourself as a failure or incapable. This will only bring you more pain and despair. Your current situation doesn’t reflect who you are. You can become a success again, and all it takes is to face this adversity with all your resilience and learn from your mistakes.
2. Don’t catastrophize
It’s perfectly understandable if you are feeling like your whole world is falling apart. Like you are never going to be fulfilled or successful again and everything you have been working for so hard is gone for good. When we exaggerate the impact of the hardships that come our way, we fall victim to what is called catastrophic thinking.
Intense negative emotions like frustration and despair can blind you. When you fall into the abyss of this darkness, everything looks uglier than it is. Give yourself some time to gain a clear vision again and you will see that things are not as terrible as you thought. You will realize that it’s not over and you can still fix the situation and go on with your life.
3. Challenge your inner critic
If you are an overthinker and have the self-destructive habit of criticizing yourself, dealing with failure can be even harder. Are you getting too hard on yourself? Is your inner critic telling you ugly things about yourself? Is it even calling you names?
For a self-critical person, it’s a gloomy reality of dealing with hardships, no matter how small. If you are this kind of person, you always blame it all on yourself. While taking responsibility for your mistakes is a productive approach, dwelling on unhealthy guilt and negativity towards yourself is never going to do you any good. So how to deal with failure when you are a self-critical overthinker?
Just ignoring your self-deprecating thoughts can lead to repression and bitterness. So when your inner critic talks, don’t ignore it. Instead, challenge it. When it’s calling you names like a ‘loser’ or ‘worthless’, reply with positive statements about yourself.
It’s similar to using positive affirmations, but you can supercharge their power by giving yourself a specific reason why you are a capable/good/successful person. For example:
- I am capable and competent because I run my own business
- My life is a success because I have a happy family
- I am a smart person, so I will succeed again
These kinds of statements are a more effective way to deal with failure and beat self-criticism than general affirmations like ‘I’m a good person’ or ‘I’m a success’. They also help you challenge your inner critic in a constructive way instead of giving in to its devastating negativity.
4. Recall the moments of joy and success
Our thoughts hold enormous power, and so do our memories. You’ve probably seen this power when you ruminated about something bad that had happened in your past. Thoughts of this nature create strong negative emotions, which are very real, even though the situation you are ruminating about is long over.
The good news is that you can use the power of your thoughts to your advantage too. When you are dealing with failure, turn to your memories of success. And I’m not talking just about having a quick glance at them in your mind. I’m talking about actually immersing into a moment when you felt like a success.
Make it a sort of meditation session. Sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and recall every detail of that memory. What day was it? What was the weather like? Who were you with? What were you wearing? Recalling these nuances will help you feel that moment and your feelings in all their glory.
In no time, you will feel more powerful and optimistic. You will realize that you still have many more moments of success in front of you, and the failure you are facing right now is not the end of the world.
5. Practice gratitude
Just like recalling a positive memory, focusing on the positive things or people in your life is a great way to deal with failure and lift your spirits. Even when it feels like everything goes wrong, it’s certain that your life still has a bright side. There are still things you can be grateful for but take them for granted, like we all do.
Sadly, we often start to truly appreciate something when life forces us to do without it. So, when life puts you face-to-face with failure, practicing gratitude is another way to see your situation in a more positive light.
Hug your special someone, spend quality time with your family, play with your kids. These experiences help you realize how lucky you actually are. Feeling the warmth of emotional connection and receiving the support of your dear ones will give you the motivation to go on and the power to push through any adversity.
And of course, don’t forget about the most obvious things that most people tend to neglect like health, income, and life itself. Even though your failure may feel like a real disaster right now, be certain that many people are in a much more unfortunate position than you are. So take a few moments to appreciate this treasure you have been taking for granted for so long.
6. Plan your next move
Finally, at some point, you need to pull yourself together and actually deal with your failure and its consequences. I understand that you may need some time to cope with your frustration and find the emotional strength to do anything.
But don’t dwell on failure for too long – if you are too busy ruminating and blaming yourself, you may miss the opportunity to actually solve the problem. Use the tips above to lighten your mood and as soon as you gain a clear vision and can think reasonably again, plan your next move.
Do your research, weigh your options, consider the changes you need to make. Most importantly, evaluate your previous decisions and mistakes that led to failure and think over the lessons you learned to make sure it won’t happen again.
If you manage to turn failure into your teacher, you will get out of it as a wiser and more resilient person than you were before. This means that facing failure may, in fact, help you succeed in life, no matter how controversial this may sound.
The bottom line is to act on failure and learn from it instead of just watching it ruin your life and end up feeling miserable and sorry for yourself.
To Deal with Failure, Remember This Simple Truth
In the end, the most important thing to remember when dealing with failure is that it too shall pass. So don’t give up just yet. There will be many more opportunities to succeed. Think about the lessons failure taught you about life, keep trying, and be sure that you have many more successes to celebrate in the future.
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