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How to finesse failure: A three-step guide to follow when life goes left

None of us would have the life we have now if it went exactly the way we wanted it. For better or worse, we don’t always call the shots.

We can try our hardest, put our best foot forward, exert every ounce of our best effort and still not have a favorable outcome. That’s life.

You can call them failures, closed doors, unfortunate events or whatever makes you sleep better at night, but the truth is they’re going to come. And it’s for this reason why it’s imperative we know what and what not to do when things don’t work out.

Unprepared failures can take the wind out your sail. It can rob you of your confidence, have you second guessing yourself and even blind your with false illusions.

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Suddenly, you’re not making any progress and you’re unhappy. Thoughts of if you’re good enough begin to creep in your head and everything you’ve been work on leading up to that one mistake goes out the window.

We should treat failures the way quarterbacks should treat interceptions: with short-term memory. When you hear success stories and testimonials of comebacks, they’re usually of people who’ve adapted some kind of response-method to failing — a way to use the failure for good.

It’s easy to get in a rut, but that does not mean we have to stay there. When we don’t take the failures too hard, keep the loss at minimum and allow ourselves to get better, failures wont be as scary.

Do not overquantify the failure

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One of the first things we do when we mess up or when we get a “no” is let that one mishap define our entire life. Rule number one to failing is not to overquantify the failure.

When cannot dwell on the negative. While that doesn’t give us the permission to turn a blind eye to every mistake we make, our job is to accept it for what it is and move on. Nothing more, nothing less.

Whether its an emplyer saying you didn’t get the gig, a school saying you didn’t get in or an audition you didn’t land, if we give that one program all the power, we block all the countless possibilities that may be an even better fit.

Take every loss for what it is and move on. Never let a mistake ruin you.

Do not allow yourself to snowball

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A lot of times when things don’t work out in our favor, or when we’ve had a perceived failure, we allow ourselves to sulk and spiral down into counterproductive decision-making.

Because we don’t know how to handle failure, we allow ourselves to think all is lost and that we no longer have anything to lose. But one step back does not mean you have to start from ground zero.

The faster we pick ourselves up, the faster we’ll be back on track. It may be discouraging and even pointless, but continuing is our only responsibility. Perfection is a myth, so we shouldn’t see one failure as conclusive.

The lie is that the journey is one without flaws. That unless it’s smooth and seamless, it isn’t right. But that’s far from the truth.

Do not rush the process

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The last and equally important thing to remember when you fail is to not rush the process. You’re learning, you’re figuring things out, you’re improving. Getting mad over every fall and shortcoming is only going to frustrate you.

Egos get crushed while chasing greatness. You won’t make it if you look for a shortcut around every failure. You won’t see your dreams come true if every failure comes with impatience to learn where you went left.

Life is about trusting the process. We must understand that everything wont be for us; that, even though things may not work out one way, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, it just means that there’s something else in store for you.

When we rush the process we’ll take every failure personally instead of seeing it as development, we’ll dive into opportunities that aren’t best suited for us because we’re tired of trying, or we’ll just give up completely.

Those who win know how to fail, and that takes not giving failures too much credence, not thinking one failure has done us in and having patience.

Once we master these we’ll be prepared for failure that comes our way and ready to rebound past it.