How to Regain Confidence After Failure?
The thing with confidence is that it goes up and down. You cannot experience the same level of confidence all throughout your life. Depending upon the situation you are encountering, you may experience different levels of confidence at different times. When things are going all good, naturally your confidence goes up and up. But, when things take a turn for the worse and especially when you encounter a big failure, your confidence takes a major hit.
Some degree of a loss of confidence after a big failure is inevitable because something you believed in so deeply failed you. However, there are ways in which we can minimize this loss. Let me share with you four key ways in which you can do this.
1) Understand that everybody fails
I want to ask you, do you know anyone in your life or in history who never ever failed?
Think about it, can you name a single person?
Chances are you will find that most people you know have failed at something at some point or the other. Even if you see others who create this illusion that they have never failed, its a blatant lie. Everybody has failed in their lives from the richest of people to the most famous of celebrities.
They maybe really good at hiding it because the world does not take kindly to failure, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t failed. Some fail in their professional life, some fail in their personal lives, but everyone fails.
By accepting and being aware of the fact that everyone fails at some point of their lives, you can learn to be less harsh at yourself.
See, people think that if they fail that means there is something wrong with them, which is why the failed. But if everyone else fails at some point as well, that means that either something is wrong with ALL of them or NOTHING is wrong with you, doesn’t it?
The nature and timing of failure may differ but failure is common to all and thus normal.
There is nothing wrong with you although there maybe something wrong with your timing or strategy, that’s all. Adopt this point of view and the confidence hit that you experience after failing will be a lot less.
2) Take a Break
Let’s face it, sometimes the magnitude of failure is so huge that the confidence is affected to a degree no matter what you do. In this situation it maybe a good idea to let go of things for a while and take a break.
Meet up with family and friends, especially the ones who are the supportive kind, not the ones that pull you down. Share your failures with the people who are all ears to your problems instead of judging you. Because being judged when you are down and have failed only makes you feel worse. At least for a while stay from those kinds of people who judge you.
You can also take a vacation. Go visit a place within your budget that you always wanted to visit. You can go alone if you wish or you can take your friends and family members along, especially if they are ones who have a positive influence on you. Disconnect from the outer world for a while and spend this time to rejuvenate yourself.
Now, always make sure that no matter what happens you do not descend into addictions or activities that you feel make you feel better but actually harm a lot in the long run. This means excessive drinking, smoking or doing drugs or anything that a lot of depressed people often fall into after their failures.
Ensure that this time is spent in doing constructive activities that rebuild your mood and your confidence. Whether it is meditation, playing sports, being with family, playing music, travelling or anything that makes you feel better day by day and helps you get over your past failures slowly, go ahead and do it.
Once you have taken a break that is sufficiently long enough to rejuvenate you, you can then decide your next course of action.
3) Learn from your mistakes.
Every failure, no matter how bad it is, brings a lot of lessons with it. It is usually up to you whether you want to learn from it or not.
Sometimes you may want to attempt what you failed at again, sometimes you may just be so sick of your experience, that you want to stay away from it forever.
That also is a form of a lesson. I mean you may decide that “I have already had a horrible experience with this something and I am in no mood to put myself through that stress again.” That’s fine and totally okay. I believe you should only persist in things you are passionate about and if the experience has left such a bitter taste in your mouth that the idea of doing something similar to that drains you mentally, it is okay if you don’t want to go back to it.
But if you have decided that you do want to get back into it, and you want to ensure that your confidence isn’t shattered again, then the first thing you need to do is ask yourself what mistakes you did last time that led to your failure and what lessons you can learn from it that will minimize the risk of at least a similar failure happening again.
I want you to take a piece of paper (or better yet, type it in an electronic document because that is permanent) and reflect back on your most recent failure.
List down all the mistakes you made that led to this situation happening.
Now list all the lessons you learnt from this failure.
Now I want you to store this document somewhere permanent because it’s the next step where this is going to be of use.
4) Get Back At It
If you have decided that you indeed want to get back up and try again and you have done an objective analysis as to why you failed and have gotten the right lessons out of it then the surest way to regain your lost confidence is to get back at it.
Many times people who go through car or airplane accidents or experience some sort of trauma with regards to something avoid it to such a degree that they end up paralyzing their lives. Now avoiding a failed business venture and not wanting to repeat it is one thing, but when it comes to things that are a necessity in daily life, like interacting with others, traveling in cars, planes, visiting public places, avoidance is a strict no no because it is going to only reinforce fear into your head.
But obviously, unless something was 100 percent of your control, there usually are some lessons that you can learn from your past mistakes. So read what you wrote in step 3 and ensure that even if you get back to doing what you were doing before, if there were indeed real mistakes that you made, then you should not repeat them.
Apply the lessons you learned and get back to doing what you are doing.
But here is the key, do it one step at a time. Learn to walk again before you try to run again.
You see, when you get back into what failed you massively, if you try to go back at it in full force you are likely to overwhelm yourself and become frozen with a lack of confidence. In rare situations it maybe possible but usually, there is a mental rehabilitation process involved just like there is a physical rehabilitation after accidents.
Get back into it step by step. When you get back into doing things at a slow pace you will become more and more confident as you accomplish each step one by one instead of being paralyzed with fear and confusion if you go all in at once. Also Taking thing slow will also help you avoid repeating the mistakes you made the first time and give you more time to apply the lessons you learnt.
Understand that Failure maybe tremendously painful but it brings with it an advantage. It is only during this time that you will realize who truly matters in life and who doesn’t. It is during times of crisis that people show their real faces. During this period you will lose a lot of fake friends and people pretending to be well wishers. It’s ok, let them go. You will find many people who treated you with respect, not taking your calls or worse, humiliating you. It’s ok, use that as a motivation to succeed once again and prove your worth. And finally, there will be some from whom you never expected much, but it is during that crisis they will step in and help out at every step, proving their loyalty and become friends for a lifetime.
Be grateful for the failure because it is only in this situation that you will lose the friends who never cared and gain ones that do. Every failure brings with a seed of opportunity!
About the Author
Anubhav Srivastava is an author, speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields. It has been seen by over 1 Million People on Youtube. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
For one on one consulting or a motivational workshop at your organization please email firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like to write a guest blog post on Anubhavsrivastava.com you contact me on the same email address.
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