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Managing Failure in Life

Updated on May 17, 2012

Have you ever thought of managing "Failures"

Most of the time we drift along with failures and do not try hard enough to manage it

Most of us undergo the experience of failures which vary in the type, impact and time to recover. Sometimes the failures have a debilitating impact on the person and life is thrown out of the gear. One fine day the promotion list is out and you find that you are not there, instead some one else left you behind just because he paid special attention on his boss and not so special attention on the work, unlike you. You had the exactly opposite focus.

So the hurt and sense of injustice and all kinds of associated feelings simply devour you. You loose interest in every other thing. You become a half dead person somehow limping up in life. The kids stop getting the warmth and affection they were used to, none of their fault. The wife is hard pressed between the twin challenges of her already too high responsibilities and handling your state of being. All the time you are obsessed with the injustice and cruelty of the fellow around you, your boss or the entire organization. The feelings kind of snowball into something huge and you are reduced to a man who is not well!

You had prepared very hard for a competition ranging from sports to writing and had all the belief and confidence that you would win. The result is like bolt from the blue and you are devastated. You get into the spiraling depths of sorrow and dejection.

Common responses in failure situations

Looks like that in most of the cases the emotional currents out of a failure situation is allowed to flow unhindered. You just abandon all the efforts to recollect yourself instead you become a slave of the gloom. You rather become a corpse flowing in the river along the currents, sometimes stopping for a while due to some obstacle, otherwise the flow is continuous.

How do we achieve success - We manage it

Now let us think for a while as how we achieve success in life right from the school days to beyond in life. We manage it. We have a goal. We think about various support systems or enablers. We think about our goal most of the time which keeps us going in the direction of success. We may face many hurdles along the way and we make herculean efforts, at least in some cases, to overcome these hurdles.

What is our approach in failures - We mismanage it

Unlike the case of managing success we rather mismanage it. We do not make much of conscious efforts to overcome failures quickly and get going. We rather take the support of the age old saying "Time is a great healer" which happens anyway, on its own.

Manage your Failure

We need to re-look our approach when we fail in life, which are bound to happen. The goal in case of failure situation is to come out quickly from emotional trap and blame game. Now a bit of thinking on how to achieve this goal through conscious efforts can show us a way to achieve the desired goal. Some of the common methods may be as given below:

  • Analyze the cause of failure - Taking the help of something like root cause analysis or using the why why analysis can bring the actual reasons of failures in a sharper manner lifting the haze of reasons which is shaded by things like betrayal, trickery, selfishness on others' part. But if looked carefully may be that you made a wrong estimate or were indifferent to a set of actions needed for success. "You get what you deserve " is correct in a majority of situations
  • Set a goal - You must set goals like I will out of the emotional setback in 3 days or 2 days. Such goal setting puts you on the path to your goal
  • Identify the enablers to your goal - After setting the goals one may think of "how" part of achieving the goal. It may be some work out, sports, movies, a trip to your hometown, meeting your childhood friends; the list is long. You may identify a kind of controlled showdown with the people who sort of cheated you. Changing the routine can be another method. May be reading some spiritual literature will be of a great help. If religious, going to your chosen God is a good healer.
  • Marshal your inner resources which have become suppressed- The gloom of failure drowns everything else including your strong sources of vitality. One needs to bring those things back into reckoning
  • Plan something to offset the failure - You may need to build a different stream of emotions, a sense of inspiration, a sense of revenge (Not too high), a resolve to show the world that you do not deserve this failure and things like that. Building on this will reduce the stream of sorrow caused by failure

We must manage failures in a conscious manner and deliberate efforts. This will reduce the span of the time one sinks in the emotional well filled with all the negative flavors of the emotion. If failures are managed the next thing which will follow is success. So get going! Manage it rather than getting managed by emotions triggered by failures.


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