Coping with failure and disappointment is not an easy skill – however it is vital to learn how to handle difficulty and overwhelming situations. This is not just useful for VCE but also for your entire life. There are many times during life when you will feel disappointment perhaps a failed relationship, a missed opportunity, job rejection or financial difficulties. The key is to learn how to deal with times of disappointment and how to deal with them effectively.
Failure is not who you are, but a sign that the strategy used is flawed
Whenever we fail at a project, it is very easy to take it personally. We begin to feel bad about ourselves and can as a result develop low self-esteem. For example if your goal is to successfully run a shop however the rent is too difficult to manage, if you close it down, it is natural to feel like “you failed”. If you feel like the reason that the shop failed was because you don’t have what it takes to run a business or that you attract “bad luck”? – this will hurt the definition you have about yourself. Instead a better perspective to take is that the strategy you used was flawed. Perhaps your prices were too high or low, perhaps the location of the shop was not accessible to a lot of clients or maybe you did not have enough capital to promote or expand the business. In such cases the strategy is flawed, however it is not because there is something directly wrong with you.
Some students find that their marks define who they are and what their potential is. For example if they receive a poor mark for their chemistry test, they allow these test marks to define who they are as a student. Rather than seeing that it is probably their study habits, amount of practice and work habits – students may simply say that it’s simply their “fault” because they are not a good chemistry student. It would be more beneficial to reflect on your study habits to find out what you are doing differently than successful chemistry students and then start developing similar habits!
There is no such thing as failure – it’s only failure if you give up.
Although you may be disappointed about a result, it is not really failure unless you completely stop trying. Failure simply pushes you off course for a moment – however you have the power to redirect yourself back on road towards your goals. We will all encounter failure throughout our lives, this is natural. However people have very different ways of handling moments of failure for example, they might stop trying or lose sight of their goal. Remember that just because you “fail” it doesn’t mean that you need to stop trying – there is no point trying to be perfect in everything you do, rather it is better learning to keep sight of your goals, despite all odds. Remember ultimately you will be the one accepting or rejecting failure! If you have failed, don’t let it because the definition of who you are – instead decide why you failed and where the problem lies.
“Failure” helps you grow!
Many successful people in the past have failed in their lives more times than average people! Why do they succeed? Because each time they analyze their mistakes and learn lessons from their failures and even though they may fail many times, they don’t take it personally. This attitude is what eventually reaps and attracts success towards them. Often we are programmed at a very young age to be “perfect” and that making mistakes is “bad” – however the truth is that it is only “bad” if nothing is done about it. If you continue to use the same strategy or the same mentality, failure is almost a guarantee. So allow failure to guide you, if you are taking the wrong strategy – failure will make this obvious.
Failure is subjective
Every person has their own definition of what success and failure means. Some students believe that success is obtaining a B+, other students see failure as achieving a B+. This shows that you make your own definitions about success and failure. In essence it is not really possible to “fail”, it is only possible to do so if you make rules about success and failure. Therefore it is important to closely analyze exactly what your definition of success and failure is and whether you want to ease up on the rules you have set in order to feel more at peace with yourself. Drop the need to be perfect – instead just do your best and as a result you will not feel so disappointed .
How to eliminate disappointment
- Realize that you and only you are in control with how you feel
- You can choose to energize positive or negative emotions
- Even if you feel disappointed, think what you can change to prevent feeling this way again
- Your goals are still possible – anything is possible to a willing heart
- Life isn’t about getting everything you want on a silver platter, there will be times when you have to stand up and try again after a fall.
- There is no such thing as failure until you give up
- Drop your need to be perfect remember mistakes are part of improvement.