How to Bounce Back from Failure
Learning how to bounce back from failure is one of the most important life skills that you’ll ever acquire. That’s because we all fail (or will fail) in life. Even the most successful people in their fields have many more failures on their record than successes.
But with perseverance, the success you find at the other side of those failures can far outweigh any of the negatives. In the following article, we’ll be examining ways to build your resilience. Let’s get started!
13 Steps to Resilience
Resilience is the fancy word for how to bounce back from failure. Developing resilience is a skill that can be built upon, no matter what past failures you have on the books. In this section, we’re going to examine the 13 steps that will get you there. Begin applying these immediately.
1. Accept the Reality of Failure
It’s going to happen. You not only need to know that before it does but also need to accept that it happened right after it rears its ugly head. Keep reminding yourself that you’re not alone in your failure. In fact, you’re in some pretty great company.
Just think about people like Michael Jordan or Steve Jobs. Considered some of the most influential and successful people in their fields, their early careers were littered with failure. Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team, and Jobs was fired from Apple, the very company he would later lead. Both men made an inarguable impact, not just on their fields but on society as a whole.
2. Realize You Are Not Broken
Ever watched a movie with a downer ending? When you fail, it can sort of feel that way, your world forever trapped in the throes of defeat. But life, luckily, does go on. If you tell yourself the film isn’t over – that you have a new day to get up and make of it what you will – you’ll start to realize the experience did not break you. And when you are not broken, you have the strength and the courage to try again.
3. Celebrate Your Strength for Carrying On
As you decide to go forward, take time out from the second effort and just pat yourself on the back for continuing. What has separated some of the most successful people from the least successful is that ability to pep-talk their way through adversity. It’s okay to take time for yourself, to tell yourself “well done” even if the job is not yet over. Morale is very important as you push forward. Do what you must to keep yours up.
4. Know Your Response Is How You Will Be Remembered
People do not remember you for the failure itself. They remember you for how you respond to it. The response you give them might be that you give up. In that case, they’ll remember you as a quitter. But if you get up and keep trying, that willingness will most command their attention. Remember that your response to failure shows your character. And character is important.
5. Accept the Obstacles As a Challenge
Stop looking at the setbacks as setbacks. Instead, see them as a way to shine. As you do this, try to visualize what people will be saying at you when you’ve worked through the challenge and overcome it. It will make your accomplishments that much brighter and influential.
6. Accept That Your Response Is Within Your Control
You cannot control everything life will throw your way. Sometimes the cards are completely stacked against you and the only way out is through. In those scenarios, you’re still in control. Not of the situation, but of your response to it. Embrace that power and responsibility. Others will take notice.
7. Others More Successful Have Hit Far Lower Points
Consider the story of boxing champion Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant. The road to success for Plant was paved with tragedy. At a young age, he found himself single father to a child with serious complications at birth that caused her to have several violent seizures each day.
Plant stuck by his little girl’s side and found hope as she would continue to fight through the sickness. Then, one day, it became too much. Plant had to make the horrific decision to end life support for his little girl, and he said goodbye to her forever. At the same time, he vowed to become a champion and make her proud. Afterward, he would do just that.
When Plant won his title, he was at the pinnacle of success in his industry, doing what very few boxers who get into the sport ever do. But few also have had to travel as difficult of a road to get there.
Reflection can be painful because it causes you to relive the failure. Ultimately, it’s beneficial, though. That’s because it allows you to break the losses down step-by-step. Doing so sheds the light on opportunities for improvement. When you know what went wrong, you’re much more likely to overcome it next time.
9. Find a Diversion
As important as reflection is to overcoming failure, you don’t want to spend all your time dwelling on it. Get away from it for an evening or two. Find a new distraction, be it a special project to work on, a movie to attend, or dinner out with your family. Your ability to step away from failure and let it go for a while to feel “normal” helps.
10. Do Not Make Rash Decisions
Sometimes one failure can quickly lead to another. This happens when we grow befuddled by the defeat and think, “I’ve got to do something to make up for the screw-up.” No. You don’t.
Many times the best thing you can do is nothing at all. For a time. Let the steam dissipate and spend your time thinking of a bounce-back strategy. Getting reactionary allows the failure to be in charge, and that’s a quick road to ruin.
11. Take Your Lessons with You
Every time you lose, you gain. At least, that’s the case if you’re looking for the lesson that the defeat is trying to teach you. Compile those lessons into a journal. Find a way to remember them. Come back to it often and learn what you could have done differently, what you should do in the present, to rebuild your reputation or self-esteem. This is the only way to reposition yourself for success.
12. Think of What the Failure Will Mean in 100 Years
We’ll do this one for you. Nothing. There’s a certain degree of freedom in knowing that as well. Not to the extent that you refuse trying to better your situation or apply effort. Just to put into perspective that what we often think of as a big deal is but a blip on the radar. Marginalizing our failure while not forgetting it or refusing to learn from it is how we find the courage to move on.
13. Visualize Yourself Overcoming the Problem
So many of our repeated failures occur because we start to doubt ourselves. Doubt stems from an inability to ever visualize beyond what’s happened. Take some time away from the present reality of defeat when you need to. Let it play out like a movie in your head.
This time around, you make the right call. You react faster. You have the proper skill set to address whatever problem got the better of you. Seeing it unfold differently allows you to get on a real path to making it work out.
Keep This Guide Handy to Bounce Back from Failure
The next time you need to bounce back from failure, return to these tips. Apply as many to your situation as you can. In the end, you’ll be victorious. Good luck!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]