How to bounce back from failure and adversity

Bounce back from failure  

To bounce back from adversity is essential. At this moment when the entire world is having a tough time, it is crucial that we not only survive somehow but that we come back stronger.

One true fundamental truth of the universe is change, the only absolute.

Accepting this not only can make us resilient when good times turn sour but also give us the courage to keep moving when we are dealing with failure.

All the above lines are perfectly logical. We all understand them at some level and yet it is so difficult to keep going.

We realize that failure is temporary and still it is hard to stay resilient. How to we bounce back from failure and adversity? Let us find out

“The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.”

– Stephen Richards

What does bounce back mean

The word resilient means to be able to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions.

resilient ThePerfectadvise

It comes from the Latin word ‘resilire’ which means leaping back or to bounce back. 

One of my ideals is Elon Musk. His thinking based on first principles and determination get back up despite failure is an inspiration for anyone struggling with adversity.

What you can see from the interview above is that he was choosing to be resilient.

Resilience isn’t a character trait or something in our DNA. It is choosing our response in the face of adversity.

We try, we lose, then we try to take in the feedback from our loss, make the necessary adjustments, and try again.

By these constant iterations, we keep learning and that is what is essential to bounce back. We need to be constantly looking for feedback and be a Realist. As Elon says-

“Constantly seek criticism. A well thought out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.”

― Elon Musk

How to bounce back

Imagine yourself driving a car on a curly road. They twist and turn, diverge.

Not only do you have to stay at a consistent speed, but you also have to keep adjusting to the turns and traffic.  That is life; you can’t pump up the gas and head straight.

bounce back after failure

Even if you face failure or rejection, you can always bounce back. Here is how

  1. Accept how you feel
  2. Figure out the problem
  3. Avoid the domino
  4. Follow a ritual
  5. Reframe the event
  6. Figure out a different strategy
  7. Try again
  8. Embrace ambiguity, flow

Accept how you feel

People often try to run away from their emotions. Especially after suffering from a failure or loss, they choose to distract themselves from how they feel.

The first step to bouncing back is to know that it is ok not to feel all right.

You are sad and that is all right. You need to accept how you feel. Do not try to move on as if nothing happened. Process your emotions, and be with them.

It can sound a bit voodoo but believe me if you feel like crying, just cry.

Now, you cannot cry so that you do not feel sad, that is not how it works.

However, you can let go by letting yourself experience how you really feel. Repressing how you feel only makes you unable to process your emotions.

Introspect and find out how you feel. “I feel ____, and that is all right.” It can be angry, sad, frustrated, lost.

Nevertheless, remember it is all right, the failure is not permanent. Be compassionate to yourself and accept how you are feeling.

Figure out the problem to bounce back

Now that you have accepted the way you feel, figure out what didn’t work.

Sometimes there are things that you have to take care of right away. Take a moment and think, is there anything you need to do right now to limit your losses?

Say you lost your wallet, you lost your valuable ids but your first response should be to get your credit cards blocked right away.

After you have limited all the damage possible start looking at what went wrong.

Analyse the steps you took logically. Break the problem down in steps and figure out what were you weak at, where is more practice necessary.

Avoid the domino

avoid the domino

This happens a lot when you let your emotions take the driver’s seat. One loss prevents you from doing anything else right.

You are already feeling sad and the lack of effort or simply absent-mindedness will make you likely to fail again. This is a slippery slope.

You hear one bad news in the morning and suddenly your entire day is bad. You have one bad day and suddenly your entire week starts to go bad.

It is important to catch yourself as quickly as you can, and reset.

I have bad days, just like everyone else. What is different is that I can catch myself having a bad day.

I know that it is a bad day and I can let it ruin the next few days or I can bounce back.

Therefore, I start preparing for the next day. In the remaining time, I make sure that, there is no way the next day can go bad.

Follow a ritual to bounce back

You might be wondering, how I can make sure that tomorrow goes well. I do not know what the future holds.

Well, I do it by firstly finishing all the small and pending accumulated tasks, and then when the next day starts I follow a ritual.

The ritual is simple

  1. Wake up at 5 am-
    For which I slept early the night before with an alarm. For help read (How to wake up early)
  2. Get out of the bed, have a cold shower-
    This snaps me out of my dizziness. No way you fall asleep after having a cold shower
  3. Make your bed-
    This is the first victory of my day. Just by making your bed, you have accomplished a task in your day. When you go to sleep in the night you come back to the bed you made in the morning that makes you feel rewarded.
  4. Make a cup of coffee and get to work-
    Pretty self-explanatory

Now this ritual works for me. You can experiment and try to find out what works for you.

Research shows that just following a ritual not only helps athletes get in the flow, but it also makes them resilient to failure.

As the research mentioned concludes-

“…Though rituals might appear on the surface to be wasteful for expended energy and time, the presence of rituals in different performance contexts suggests they are critical to self-regulation and goal attainment. Here we offer preliminary support for the hypothesis that even an arbitrary ritual acts as a palliative by dulling the neural response to performance failure….”

This is what Ronaldo does when he takes a few steps back, stays still for a moment taking deep breaths before shooting a free kick.

Similarly, tennis players bounce the ball a few times with their rackets before going for a serve. 

follow a ritual

Reframe the event

Sometimes we can let our failures define our identity subconsciously. This is especially the case if those failures led to big life decisions.

One of my biggest failure in life was when I decided to drop a year after High school.

I was not that great in academics and lacked the dedication to work hard.

I spent an entire year away from home for the first time in a city named Kota, one that is dedicated to cracking Public college exams.

Even after spending a year there, I was not able to get into any nice public college.

For a long time, I let that failure define me. Especially in the starting years of my college, because all the people that were with me were now a year ahead.

I felt like a failure who was not smart enough to crack a public college. This was a fact wasn’t it.

How could I argue against it? Later on, however, I realised how different I was as a person because of the experiences I had in Kota.

It was the first time I worked very hard at something. I had learned how to struggle.

Aside from that, I cultivated a growth mindset. Even if I do not know something, I can always work hard and learn it.

Both the identities are true. I failed to get into a college despite hard work, and, I learned how to work hard only because I went there.

I can choose which interpretation I want to internalize.

Reframe your failures, see the merits in your losses and be compassionate to yourself.

This will help you create a resilient attitude and improve your self-esteem.

“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”

– Joshua Waitzkin

Figure out a different strategy

The best way to learn is to go out there and fail. Be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘perfectionism’.

If you want to hit the arrow on a target the best thing you can do is to shoot the first arrow, readjust to correct your aim, and then shoot again. 

The readjusting is very important though. You can try the same thing repeatedly but it will not work. Just being positive will not change reality.

You have to be willing to analyze what goes wrong, make the necessary adjustments, and then go again.

The best thing about failure is that it is always different. If you can make sure that you do not ever fail because of the same reason twice, victory will only be a matter of time.

Keep looking for constructive criticism and then work on ways to improving upon your skills. Ask help from your support system, be it your friends or peers. 

Try again to bounce back

Now comes the time to act. So simple and yet so difficult. Once you have figured out where you went wrong and devised a strategy to win, it is time to go out and put in the work.

Do not be stuck in analysis paralysis. You can keep thinking about a thousand ways in which things can go wrong.

Until and unless you try again, you will never know. What you are doing in that moment is just procrastinating because you are scared to fail again.  

Just go out there and do it.

success theperfectadvise

Embrace ambiguity, flow

In our blog called how to resolve difficult problems peacefully, we talk about a term called Wu Wei.

The term refers to not forcing. Most athletes call it the zone, where they act without thinking.

This happens when we take our focus away from the results and start concentrating on the process.

If your focus is on the process the results do not matter that much. Yes, you still wish to achieve positive outcomes but the prime focus becomes improving the process.

You act being present in the moment and that makes the task look almost too easy.

By achieving the flow state, you are embracing ambiguity. The anxiousness and stress of the task vanishes.

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”

– Robert T. Kiyosaki

In Conclusion

This week try to find out just one area of your life that you need to work on. Apply these 8 steps as you start working on it. It is difficult to stay consistent but bouncing back is easy.

You will feel bad when you slip up. This, believe-it-or-not, makes it even easier to bounce back. All you have to do is to have an internal conversation that goes something like this.

“I failed to do____ and I feel sad today”

“If I fail again tomorrow I will feel worse”

 “I’ll make sure I will succeed tomorrow”

Instead of wallowing in your sorrow, you are convincing your internal critic to drive you back to hard work. I wish you all the best

bounce back after failure

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

– Nelson Mandela

That is all for this post. If you have difficulty finding what your goals and dreams are, we provide a free EBook called the perfect beginning’ that can help you with it.

We post every week and if you like, what you read, you may follow us on our social handles on FacebookInstagram as well as Pinterest to be up to date on our posts.

We hope you have a good day and a good life.

2 Replies to “How to bounce back from failure and adversity”

  1. I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉

  2. I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

Comments are closed.