November 29, 2013

Setbacks vs Failures

It’s #FailureFriday! We’re dedicating the end of the week to reframing our thoughts on failure.

We hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!

Today we are sharing some wisdom from Deepak Chopra about the difference between a setback and a failure. Most importantly, he shares how to prevent viewing a setback as a failure.

“Setbacks in any career are inevitable, and yet some people manage to succeed despite the worst of setbacks. Their secret is that they know the difference between a setback and failure. The two aren’t the same. A setback has to leave scars before it starts to become a failure. There are ways to protect yourself from being scarred. Some of these can be applied in advance, the way you’d apply prevention before you get sick. Others can be applied after a setback has occurred. But in both cases, anyone can learn the skills that are needed.”

Check out some of Deepak’s most poignant tips (to read all of them, click here):

View yourself as a success, no matter what is happening.
The more attention you pay to increasing your self-esteem, the less you will be scarred by setbacks.

Know your personal weaknesses and deal with them.
Knowing yourself is an enormous advantage on the road to success. It’s not possible to be all things to all people. No one is a superman or superwoman. If you look in the mirror and honestly assess what you’re good at and what your weak points are, whether it’s a hot temper, perfectionism, procrastination, or any other personal trait, the act of being honest is the first step in getting better. Hiding your weaknesses rarely works, since the people who work and live with us generally know already what our liabilities are.

Have a supportive family.
Call upon the support of your spouse, and when you are in the supporting position, lend your full attention to what is going on in your partner’s work life. All of us thrive with encouragement and wilt with discouragement. So having an encouraging partner who believes in you is an essential kind of support. If you currently don’t communicate on this level with your partner, take steps to begin to.

Participate in a supportive team atmosphere.
Some people are destined to work alone, writers and artists being the classic examples. Everyone else works as part of a team, and teams build their own culture and atmosphere. The ingredients that go into a good team are well known, so it’s important for you to trust that you are participating in one. If you are part of a good team, everyone is respected and listened to. Each member is given an assignment that fits their skills and interests. The ongoing success of the whole team is constantly valued. No one is an outsider, a scapegoat or bully. There’s a sense of moving forward and growing. Being part of such a team provides a major buffer against setbacks when they loom.

Learn how to be centered.
Being centered means that you can rest within yourself no matter how stormy your circumstances may be. It’s the place from which you learn, grow, observe, decide, and appreciate. People who find that they don’t change with time, who bring the same reactions to new situations, who have little appreciation for life - they are not centered enough to build a self. Instead, their existence is passed reacting to daily events. They are up on good days and down on bad days. Then truly horrible days can be devastating, and after they pass, inner scars remain. So if you decide to work on only one thing that helps prevent failure, this is where to begin.

This list includes some “critical elements that even very successful people tend to ignore. Success is not a vaccine against failure. It would make life much simpler if it were, but there will always be challenges that lead to setbacks, and surviving the last crisis, although it will give you some measure of confidence and strength, is only part of the story.”

Do you agree with Deepak’s suggestions on how to prevent viewing setbacks as failures? Do you have any to add? Tell us below in the comments! 


1 Comment

  • Sungjin Cho

    If there is anybody who studied engineering, they know the difficulites of actualizing theories into stuffs. It is all true and helpful. However, sadness and depression coming after big failure are still challenging enemies to be dealt with. Here, I would like to suggest acceptance and forgiveness before applying aforementioned steps. As you knows, mechanical advice like ” do this under a certain condition” is not really working in real world. Howevere, accepting and forgiving self & others without conditions could be huge advance in defeating the negative feelings and boost up the energy level eventually to start all over again.

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