Overcoming Obstacles: How to Handle Failure

May 28, 2013  |  
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Everyone has their own definition of a failure  and what it means to them. Some are so distraught that it becomes quite difficult to pick themself up and try again. Others, however, see it not as a negative, but a positive — something they can learn from and build upon to realize success. Regardless of how you cut it, failure is necessary in life and helps us to grow into the people we were destined to become. The question is: Will you let it inhibit you, or empower you?

Failures are an inevitable feature in life. It’s something you can’t really get around and must face head on. Here are a few ways to handle failures.

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Don’t dwell

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

When life hits you with a hard blow, it can be kinda hard not to dwell on your situation. You start to replay everything in your head trying to decipher what you could have done different, or ways the outcome could have been in your favor. While this may be a natural urge, don’t fall to the temptation to dwell on things. At the end of the day, it won’t change your situation and can do more harm than good to you (think ulcers and unnecessary stress).

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Reevaluate and fine tune

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it” – Maya Angelou

One of the first things you should do after experiencing a setback is to reevaluate your situation, fine tuning anything that needs tweaking. Does this mean you dwell on what went wrong? No. Should you pull lessons you can apply towards a better outcome? Absolutely.

Now is the time to go back to your drawing board of goals and see what works and what needs a little more time. Who knows, you may discover some extra steps that are necessary or things you can remove completely.

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Commit yourself to the journey

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.'” – Joel Osteen

Just because you had one setback does not mean your story is over. Once you experience a failure, it is important you re-commit yourself to finishing what you started. If you don’t, you may find excuses why you should take a break or stop your journey altogether.

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Take a break

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today” – H.G. Wells

Even the strongest person needs a breather. Sometimes the best course of action is not immediate thought, but a much-needed break. Remove yourself from the situation to collect your thoughts and channel your inner peace. This often is the best way to achieving clarity. With clarity, you can move forward with renewed purpose.

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Change your perception

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong” – Benjamin Franklin

If this sounds like a half-empty/half-full sort of thing, that’s because it is, in a way. Your perception has the power to not only shape who you are, but how you react to life’s obstacles. If you are constantly calling yourself a failure, how on earth can you expect to achieve anything? Change your story by changing up your perception. Setbacks are only temporary; there are plenty of chapters to be written. Remaining positive and trying to find the good during difficult times can help move you into the right thought process to achieve your dreams.

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Become fearless

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try” – Beverly Sills

Now that you know setbacks and challenges are inevitable, they should not hold you back from following your dreams. Becoming fearless will enable you to try and try again should the outcome not be in your favor. Don’t let a failure or fear of failure hold you back.

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Focus on victories, small and big

“Why are you going to choose failure when success is an option?” – Jillian Michaels

Have you forgotten your successes and how far you have come? When faced with an obstacle, begin to think about all of the victories you have achieved, big and small. This could be anything from accomplishing daily tasks to tackling a big project. Celebrate your progress.

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Leave room for errors

“When we give ourselves permission to fail..we at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel” – Eloise Ristad

Unfortunately, we can not prepare for everything that life will bring us. This goes for the good and the bad – and while goals help, it’s okay to leave room for errors. No one is perfect and thus, mistakes may occur. When they do, pick yourself up and move on.

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Never give up

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” – Thomas Edison

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t give up – ever! You never know how close you are to achieving your goals if you throw in the towel. There is more… and more… and more.

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