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How I Overcame Failure

By Nia Williams

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” - Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr

In a perfect world, our choices would have the same outcome. There would never be a deterrence, no hurdles, no hills – just optimum cause and effect. The decisions you’ve made today would always produce the consequence in which you’ve expected it to receive. That’s the joy of living in a perfect world, its predictable.

This world, however, is full of unexpected circumstances and the choices you’ve made (with good intention) don’t always reap the benefits you’ve anticipated. In our experiences, our rejections and failures become lessons to grow from. At least, that’s what it feels like in retrospect. When you’re in that space, though, rejection and failure hurts, sometimes so much that you don’t know where to begin to pick up the pieces. Below I’ve outlined various ways to overcome rejection and failure and build resilience.

1. Redefine Your Definition of Success and Failure. We all know what success and failure generally looks like. But be specific, what does success and failure look like to YOU? Redefine your interpretation of these words based off of your values to ensure you are realistically setting goals catered to your moral compass.

2. Honor Your Emotions. Are you sad? Are you disappointed? Are you frustrated? You have the right to feel these emotions. Accept them for how they come and feel them fully. Take note of these feelings and express it creatively.

3. Know What Went Wrong. Reflect on the steps you took to reach that outcome. Try to pinpoint what went wrong and seek feedback if need be. When you are aware of the mistake, ensure that you do not make it again.

4. Find Your Inspiration. Your inspiration is the reason you began your journey. When you experience rejection or failure, you might lose sight that inspiration. Take a trip down memory lane and revisit your WHY’s, whether that is a person, a place or an experience. Doing this will recharge your mindset and reaffirm your foundation.

5. Stop Dwelling on It. Once you’ve honored your negative emotions, let it go. You cannot afford to let these negative thoughts consume your thoughts and actions.

6. Work Smarter, Not Harder. You’ve done everything mentioned so far, now there’s only one thing left: whatever you just failed at, try it again. You’ve learned from that lesson, you’ve experienced an unfavorable outcome; this time, be smart about it. With this newfound knowledge, do not put yourself in the predicament to make the same mistake.

Failure is innate; everyone experiences it one way or another. Our resilience when things go awry is something that we have the power to control. Our long-term perspective is a gift that enables us to strive for greatness, “living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.”