Recovering from Failure – articles by various authors
Twelve Psychological Tips About Recovering From Failure by Kim Bhasin
Most people who are able to recover from instances of failure have a good sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously
People who think intelligence is fixed at birth are more afraid of failure and find it harder to cope
Over-shielding a child from failure makes her more prone to getting an anxiety disorder
How to Recover from Failure By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
But failure doesn’t have to be a demoralizing letdown, a crushing catastrophe or a window into some bleak future. Because failure is what we make of it.
According to psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, “Depending on our perspective, failure is a painful roadblock or a tantalizing challenge to push and grow.”
… Below, Howes shared how we can recover from failure.
Acknowledge the hurt.
Howes helps his clients realize that their failure “was a bump in the road, a chapter to learn from, a step in the growing and learning process.” When clients still have a hard time and keep ruminating about their regret, he suggests this saying: “I made the best decision with the information I had at the time.” Because you wouldn’t pick something you knew was the worst option, he said.
The difference is that today you have new information, which colors your past decision. As Howes said, you thought you wanted to marry a carefree partier, but now you realize that you’d be a better fit with someone who’s stable and reliable. Or you thought you’d enjoy the career your parents envisioned for you, but you realize that your dream job is totally different.
When we’ve failed, often our first instinct is to isolate ourselves. “We feel ashamed that we failed and we don’t want anyone to know about it,” Howes said. However, reaching out is actually one of the best ways we can navigate regret.
For instance, you might talk to others about whether they’ve failed. Howes suggested speaking to the most successful people in your field. “You’re bound to hear them tell you story after story of the many times they failed on the way to their success.”…
Why is it so hard to let go, forgive ourselves and move on? And how can we keep failure – or the fear of it — from derailing us?
Here are five strategies:
1. Don’t make it personal. Separate the failure from your identity. Just because you haven’t found a successful way of doing something (yet) doesn’t mean you are a failure. These are completely separate thoughts, yet many of us blur the lines between them. Personalizing failure can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and confidence.
There was a man who failed in business at age 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age 22; failed again in business at 24; overcome the death of his fiancée at 26; had a nervous breakdown at 27; lost a congressional race at 34; lost a senatorial race at age 45; failed to become Vice President at age 47; lost a senatorial race at 49; and was elected as the President of the United States at the age of 52. This man was Abraham Lincoln. He refused to let his failures define him and fought against significant odds to achieve greatness.
….3. Stop dwelling on it. Obsessing over your failure will not change the outcome. In fact, it will only intensify the outcome, trapping you in an emotional doom-loop that disables you from moving on. You cannot change the past, but you can shape your future. The faster you take a positive step forward, the quicker you can leave these debilitating, monopolizing thoughts behind.
…4. Release the need for approval of others.Often our fear of failure is rooted in our fear of being judged and losing others’ respect and esteem. We easily get influenced (and spooked) by what people say about us.
Remember, this isyour life, not theirs. What one person considers to be true about you is not necessary the truth about you, and if you give too much power to others’ opinions, it could douse your passion and confidence, undermining your ability to ultimately succeed.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job because someone thought she was “unfit for TV.” Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected by 30 publishers.
Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job because he “lacked imagination and good ideas.”
Winston Churchill failed sixth grade and was considered “a dolt” by his teacher. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage the first time he tried comedy.
Soichiro Honda was rejected by an HR manager at Toyota Motor Corporation when he applied for an engineering job, leaving him jobless until he began making scooters in his garage and eventually founded Honda Motor Company. ‘Nuff said.
The Essential Guide for Recovering From Failure by Guy Winch, phD
3. Failure Damages Our Motivation. Numerous studies have demonstrated that whether we believe we will succeed or fail has a direct impact on how much effort we invest in reaching our goal. When we fear we are unlikely to succeed, we unconsciously invest less effort in pursuing our goal, and consequently, we are indeed less likely to attain it. …
4. Failure Makes Us Risk Averse. The less confident we are and the more worried we are about failing, the less likely we are to take risks, emotional or otherwise. Ironically, once we fail at a more conventional approach, finding a ‘riskier’ solution might be the best and most important avenue for us to pursue. But once we’re hesitant to take risks, we are less likely to even consider them…
7. Failure Leads Us to Make Incorrect and Damaging Generalizations. When we fail we often generalize the experience in sweeping and self-punitive ways, and draw incorrect and unnecessary conclusions about our general intelligence, abilities, capacities, and even about our ‘luck in life’ or what was or wasn’t ‘meant to be’. The only thing we can conclude for sure after a failure is that we were unsuccessful at that particular task/goal, in that particular time, in those particular circumstances.
How to Treat the Wounds Failure Inflicts
4. Take Calculated Risks. Recognize that it is natural to feel anxious when considering less conventional options, but that it might be essential to do so. Create a list of all the various approaches you can think of, rank them according to the risks they entail and make informed and calm choices about which to pursue first.
7. Reframe the Failure As A Single Incident. Make a list of the specifics of the situation that might be different when you approach the task next time. Include items such as circumstances, factors related to the other people involved, your mood, your spouse’s mood, the weather, your general frame of mind, how you slept, and as many others as you can. Then check off the many factors that might be different when you try again.
Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford
How Successful People Stay Calm by Travis Bradberry
How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova