It is inevitable that we experience setbacks in our lives and our careers. Success requires failure, and it necessitates failing many times and trying again after each disappointment or difficulty.
A Japanese proverb encourages us to “fall seven times, stand up eight.”
We must develop mental strength in order deal with the failures and setbacks we experience in our personal and professional lives if we want to see those failures lead to success and positive outcomes. Too many of us retreat from failure, allowing it to define us, or allow difficulties to make us feel trapped, unworthy, and unable to move forward and reach our goals.
Instead we need to continually work to develop our mental strength and the following five practices will help do just that.
Put the past behind you and move on from your previous failures and disappointments. Learn what you need from them but don’t be held back or defined by setbacks. This might require you to focus on changing your thoughts when you are troubled by the failures of the past. Telling yourself something simple like “that is behind me and today is a new and successful day” can be a effective technique to change your focus from the past to the present.
Take some time each day, preferably just after you wake up, to set your day with some mindful meditation. Focus on breathing deeply and use this time for prayer or to repeat a short mantra that inspires you. This practice will help calm you, give you greater clarity of purpose, and will put your thoughts in a positive place to start the day.
Surround yourself with supportive people
It’s very important to have friends and colleagues around who encourage and inspire you. Be around people who understand the importance of taking risks and failing, who applaud you for taking action and trying something new. It is equally important to avoid time with people who frequently complain, are negative, discourage you from going after your dreams, or seem to take some pleasure in pointing out your weaknesses and failings.
Watch what you take in
We are what we eat and we are what we consume through the books we read, the movies we watch, the podcasts or radio programs we listen to, or the music we enjoy. Eating healthy food and surrounding ourselves with positive and encouraging media can be a tremendous source of strength, similar to being around a wise mentor or a great friend.
Act and fail and act and succeed, and be grateful for it all
The process of taking some action, of failing and getting back up, and trying again, and achieving some success builds our mental strength and enables us to continue to act, fail, and succeed. Pay attention to the process, and work at enjoying all of it, while expressing gratitude for what you’re building and the strong and resilient person you’re becoming.