How to overcome setbacks, failure. A 3-Step Process.
What if there is a step by step technique to bounce back from such setbacks and keep going? Fortunately, such technique exists.
What if there is a step by step technique to bounce back from such setbacks and keep going? Fortunately such technique exists.
Step 1: Inner calm
You know and you might have experienced that with mindfulness practice, the first thing that happens is mind becomes calmer. And this inner calm is the foundation of resilience. Anytime we experience a setback, our mind becomes very disturbed, lots of thoughts keep coming up. We try to get away from them, but they keep coming back. Mindfulness practice helps us to notice that our attention has gone to those thoughts. And then we can name those thoughts and bring our attention back to the positive aspects of life resulting in calmer mind. And once the mind is calm, we can take the second step.
Step 2: : Emotional strength
Success and failure and emotional experiences. Like any other emotion, they manifest as sensations in our body. And of course, we like to hold on to the success experience and want to get rid of failure experience. Interestingly both of them come and go. Notice that earlier in life you experienced setbacks, failures and after some time that was gone. What we can do is to treat both success and failure equally as sensations. Notice them, name them and let them go if they wish to.
The idea here is to learn to be ok with experience of setback and failure. Notice that failure hurts, pains and then ok with it that pain and hurt. For example, if you are training for a marathon, as you run longer and faster, it hurts and pains. You can only progress if you are ok with that pain.
You are experiencing failure because you have tried something. Failure is always one possible outcome. Increasing our capacity to be with failure will help us to keep going and take on bigger challenges.
And looking at failure as sensation in the body helps in that direction. It’s not that “I failed”. It’s “I am experiencing failure in my body”. I am the sky, and this experience of failure is like black clouds, they come and go.
Step 3: Optimistic thinking
Now let our brain go to work. Let’s train it to think optimistically.
What kind of personal power do you have to face this failure? Maybe you have a strong mind, determination, inspiration, ambitious nature, big goals? What are the good qualities in you that can you bring out?
Now let’s think in what way this setback is temporary? In what way this failure is an isolated situation?
What did you learn from this?
What efforts or actions you can take?
What new skills, abilities you can acquire to overcome this failure?
How can you do better next time?
And it’s even possible that you may find a way to make use of this situation for a positive outcome. For example, you did not get a promotion, but it’s possible you can work with your boss to get something else, maybe a bonus, maybe higher responsibility, bigger, different opportunities.
And all this positive, optimistic thinking becomes easier, possible because of the first two steps, inner calm, and emotional strength. If we are engulfed in strong emotions, it becomes hard to think optimistically.
That’s why stronger muscles to calm our mind, and attention training is very important. And we can achieve that by daily mindfulness meditation practice.
Mindfulness meditation audio: To complement this article, I have created an accompanying guided mindfulness meditation audio too. So anytime you are facing setback or failure, find a quiet place, simply put on that audio, let your mind and brain work through step by step process and bounce back!
If you would like to get mp3 version of that audio, contact me I will send the audio to you.