Life Style

Inability to Deal with Failure

Inability to Deal with Failure
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/4/2019 6:35:57 AM IST

 “My dream is to enlighten the world, so I am bound to die a failure. But I will die a blissful failure. I can promise you that” (Sadhguru). 

From the time you are a child, everyone around you is encouraging you to do better. Parents, relatives and teachers constantly talk about achieving success and the importance of this factor in our lives. Your school grades, your extracurricular activities and everything in between are analyzed and the feedback is then relayed to you. Soon, without any conscious thought, we imbibe this belief. Who we are depends on how successful we are. We sail through the major milestones of life, riding high on our achievements and aspiring of an even more glitzy future. 

The fabric of our society now is such that money has become a singular yardstick of measuring success. Better college and better jobs will pave the way forward to money which will inevitably pave the way forward a better life. 

This is not a commentary on parenting or the importance of success. As much as we surround ourselves with the possibilities of success, there is another aspect that we dread. In fact, a lot of many of us live our lives actively avoiding it so much so that it becomes a major influence in the decision making process. 

A by-product of our attempts through life and sometimes simply a result of circumstances, failure and rejection are inevitable forces. 

Whether it is in the work front or our personal lives, failure has a strong negative connotation. For a lot many people, with the exceptions of isolated incidents, there has never been a face to face meet with failure. There is a tendency that many people have, which is to not attempt or try because the fear of failure is ever present. Our ability (or inability) to deal with rejection is often a reflection of latent resiliency. The interpretation that is drawn from our failures can have longstanding effects on our life. 

On facing a rejection, the immediate appraisal is to do with self worth. Thoughts such as- “I am not good enough for this,” or “I am not a capable person” begin resonating in our minds and refuse to leave. The rejection will be specific (such as not getting a job) but the appraisal will be for your entire existence. Such disproportionate analysis can often lead to a downward spiral, characterized by negative self evaluations and low self confidence. 

So what can we do to help prepare ourselves and others to deal with failure?

Firstly, the acceptance that failure and rejection are woven into the fabrics of our lives and the goal should not be to sail through life without ever experiencing either; after all, the failure lends more meaning to the success. Secondly, learn to see the failure in its context. For example, if you prepared for a job and did not get it, then it doesn’t mean that you are not a capable person. Try and see where you could be going wrong, which could be to do with the interview itself, lack of experience and so on. 

It is a well known fact that one of America’s most beloved presidents, Abraham Lincoln, had to overcome a series of failures in his life. He lost eight elections in his life and this man went on to become the President of the United States of America. Always, see the failure in its context. 

Lastly, broaden the scope of your life. There are many paths leading to happiness and there is more to life than simply the yardstick of success. Enjoy your successes but try and experience life as more than the sum of your achievements. 

Parvathy Nair, 

Clinical Psychologist,

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