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7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

We are all sensitive souls. No matter how successful or talented we are, an unexpected setback can directly impact our self-confidence. When things have been going well and then suddenly take a turn for the worse, rebounding can take some concerted effort.

Successful people understand this and deploy impressive tactics to bounce back after huge setbacks and rebuild their self-confidence.

1. They reaffirm themselves

One thing most successful people know is that failure happens to the best of us. It’s nothing personal. If you haven’t failed at something before, it means you’ve never tried anything. Just because you failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Successful people visualize their desired situation and reaffirm that their dreams and goals are credible. When the momentary negative feelings of “I can’t do it” arise, they assert: “Yes I can.”

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By using this strategy consciously and intently, they influence their subconscious mind, bringing it back to center, transforming their behavior, and reshaping their attitude and reactions. After all, there’s a lot of truth in the words, “Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life.”

2. They take a break and do other activities that they enjoy

Successful people often take some time out to de-stress after major setbacks. This gives them a reprieve from the failure, soothes their ego, stirs their creativity, and helps them get a sense for what truly matters in life. They surround themselves with positive, supportive people and make time for simple pleasures like fishing, reading, organizing charities, or just hanging out with their family.

Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington are among the many successful people who love to unplug from technology and read a book. They say it helps them unwind and take the edge off after a particularly busy or stressful day. Bungled attempts, lost business, and negative feedback seem to have less of a toll after this.

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3. They reflect on their past successes and failures

Successful people like to reflect not only on their success stories, but also on their failures. That’s because both bring learning opportunities. By reflecting on these experiences, you become much more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You become conscious of your personal quirks, your blind spots, and are better able to explain your insecurities — informing your best course of action going forward.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore. While reflecting on her experience, she came to the conclusion that she needed to create her own TV channel, which paid off magnificently. Today, she is a household name and a self-made billionaire in the media industry.

4. They forgive themselves

A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggests that the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is the key driver of success. Many successful people know this and practice self compassion. They don’t beat themselves up too much after making a mistake. That’s because they know that being too harsh on yourself does nothing but dent your confidence further and make it harder for you to bounce back to winning ways.

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Truly successful people learn and move on precisely because they know how to forgive themselves first. It’s just as bad to be mean to yourself as it is to be mean to others. The moment you realize this and learn to forgive yourself is the moment you give yourself permission to rise again and make things happen.

5. They manage their self doubt

When successful people make a mistake or suffer a major setback, they analyze what they are feeling and frame strong arguments to tame negative self-talk and doubt. Many write down their fears and concerns as clearly and succinctly as possible and challenge them calmly and rationally. If their worries and doubts dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However, if the worries are based on genuine risks, they set additional measures to manage these appropriately.

There’s something about this approach that boosts confidence and makes the worst of setbacks seem surmountable. It was Confucius who observed that, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” As you think, so shall you become.

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6. They re-create their approach

Insanity is defined as trying the same thing again and again but expecting different results every time. Successful people know better than that. They constantly recreate their approach and deploy new ways of doing things based on what they’ve learned in the past. This means the best, clearly-thought out plan, solution, program, or system possible to boost confidence and propel them to success.

Thomas Edison would not have become one of America’s most renowned inventors were it not for his exemplary attitude toward failure, unwavering persistence, and willingness to recreate and try new ways to achieve his goals. He is famously quoted saying, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That was the secret to his success as a standout inventor and businessman who developed many life-changing devices, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

7. They get back up on their feet and commit themselves to success

After all is said and done, successful people get back up on their feet and continue with the journey. They don’t stay down. They might start over a bit more cautiously after huge setbacks, but they start. Then, they accelerate towards success as their confidence is reborn. The simple act of starting and making small, steady steps forward, armed with lessons learned from past setbacks, rebuilds and rejuvenates their self belief. They eventually begin to stretch themselves, make the goals a little bit bigger along the way.

Musical artist Bob Marley was shot in his own hometown two days before a major public performance. What did he do? He defiantly walked out on stage anyway. His reason for doing so was simple, yet powerful: “The people who are trying to make the world worse never take a day off. Why should I?”

That was arguably the point at which he became a legend. Every step you take after a huge setback is a testament to your resolve. Every win is a reward for your commitment.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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