It was in the 12th grade when I had my first real encounter with failure. I had failed a Physics unit test and had never felt worse. I felt guilty and stupid. While almost half my classmates had failed the test, I had always been a good student and this put me down really badly. The fact that my board exams were just a month or two away made the situation a lot worse. Like any other Indian student, I was made to believe that my board marks were extremely important and largely determined my future. Worries about my academics and expectations set for me started filling my mind. There were classmates walking around asking each other’s marks and I ran to the washroom to be alone for a while and process the fact that I had failed a test.
The process took a while. Thankfully my family understood and I decided to work harder for my board exams. Over the period, I kept telling myself that it was okay to fail or go wrong sometimes. I knew failure is a part of life and everyone experiences it in some form or the other at some point in their lives. But I also knew that to overcome this setback, I’d have to cut back on a lot of things. I stopped spending as much time outside or time watching television. I enrolled myself in Physics tuitions, which, even though started late, helped me understand and like the subject so much more.
We all are likely to come to a point in our lives where we think everything is going wrong- that nothing is in our favor. We feel lost and helpless and cannot think of ways to move forward with our lives. While the process of moving on is undeniably hard and long, it is possible.
One important step towards this is to create an emotionally motivating environment for yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, take time out to do things you love. A survey by the American Institute of Stress (AIS) found that 48% of people admit the negative impact stress has on their personal and professional life. This stress could be the result of a tiring, overburdening environment wherein you and people around you remind you of your setback and compel you to work more, despite you not being in the right mental state to do so. Creating work and personal environment that will help one stay motivated and mentally healthy and productive at the same time, is ideal.
Another important step is learning from your mistakes. While this may sound very cliche, it is essential in the path towards recovery. Analyzing my failure, I realize I could have paid more attention in class and started studying for the test in advance. These realizations help me plan my next steps better and prepare me for any kind of hurdle of complication that may come my way. It is important to not repeat these mistakes and follow through with the set of rules you set for yourself for the next task. Take this setback as an opportunity to learn new skills and refine your already existing ones. These will give you the confidence to face similar situations in the future because you would be better equipped and prepared than you were last time.
Failure makes you question your abilities and can change the perception you have about yourself. You may question your skills, your talent, and your abilities, and see them significantly weaker than they actually are. It is important to understand this because sometimes failure is not a result of your lack of abilities. It could be a lack of effort or situational problems. While improving your skills is always beneficial, questioning yourself more than you should only result in you feeling demotivated and low. Your failure does not define you, the way you react to it does. While it is normal to feel lost and unmotivated at first, getting up and bracing yourself to fight is the crucial step. This is definitely easier said than done. It is a long but attainable goal.
It is essential to understand that all this is temporary. Failure comes and goes and is not going to stick around forever. It is all part of your journey and when you look at the bigger picture, these small setbacks will either seem insignificant or will come something that’ll only help you work better towards your goals. This is something I keep telling myself when things are not going right. Keep looking at the bigger picture. Because that’s what will matter in a couple of years.
Finding inspiration can also help one get back on the right track. This can include talking to people, reading self-help books, watching Ted talks: anything that makes you feel motivated and inspired. Allow yourself to listen to other people’s journeys, get tips, and re-evaluate your plan ahead.
Finally, we need to remember that life is unpredictable. While you may achieve success right after your first failure, you may fail again too. This is a hard pill to swallow but one must learn to acknowledge that success does not come easy and that there will be times you fail more than once. But this does not mean one gets more demotivated each time and decides to eventually stop trying. Hard work definitely pays, even if it takes longer to do so than you wanted or expected it to. Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.
Daily Life. (2019, December 18). Retrieved December 16, 2020, from https://www.stress.org/daily-life