Imagine if J.K Rowling stopped typing after that 12th rejection letter, if Thomas Edison accepted the darkness that followed his 10,000th failed attempt at inventing the electric light bulb, or if Walt Disney threw in the four-fingered gloves when his boss said he “lacked imagination.”
Defeat did not mark the end of these now famous stories, and it certainty does not point to the end of yours. Everyone is prone to setbacks; it’s what you do next that determines where you will travel tomorrow.
The Bigger Picture
Failure: it’s a crushing word, but it’s also a temporary word. Experiences are molded by multiple moments, not just one—when your minutes don’t unfold as planned, you cannot lose sight of the hours.
Defeat (if we can accurately call it this) is an inevitable step on everyone’s journey to success. No great goal will ever be easy, and here’s the secret: if you’re not falling down every once in a while, your dreams are not big enough. Take a step back, see how far you’ve come, and resolve to push forward.
The Value of a Mistake
Hindsight is 20/20, and in this unique moment of disappointment, you also have an opportunity. There is a difference between dwelling and processing—without slumping into your dejection, process this experience. Reflect on your journey, find that first wrong turn, trace through the subsequent moments, and learn.
Today is a detour, and it exists for one very important reason: to refocus your mind and inspire new ideas. The way you choose to react now will determine the long-term results of this experience. Will you look back on this moment as a driving or a defeating force? The power is in your hands.
Creating Your Success
With one more practice round under your belt, you’re now one step closer to your ultimate goal. Though you may feel like scrapping everything altogether, keep in mind that this inclination is simply a trick of your mind. As Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford University, explains: “almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail”; we take our losses more personally than our gains, and they tend to cloud over our attained benefits.
Ask yourself: “What are the positives from this situation? What did I do right?” Just as you analyzed what went wrong, you must equally remember to reflect on those moments that went well. They also have a leading role in your success story.
Plan for a Brighter Tomorrow
After a period of healthy reflection, it’s time to wipe the dust from your shoulders, stand tall, and plan out tomorrow. The future belongs to those who look forward, not back.
Take out a piece of paper; write down your dreams once more, and set concrete goals. Create the path that will actualize your daydreams. What skills will you improve upon? How will you circumvent this current roadblock? No matter how impossible the odds may seem, there is always a way out of the now and towards a better tomorrow; you just need patience and persistence.
Your Future Awaits
Grasp onto your failures, learn from your mistakes, and observe how today’s stumble is propelling you towards your ambitions. Imagine how you’ll one day tell your story and inspire others with your tales of struggle and setback. Behind every successful person is a story of a lesser time. Think of this moment as that time for you, visualize a brighter future, and go after it.