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Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure

Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure

Failure is a part of life. It happens to all of us and we should accept that. Too many people are scared of it. They would rather get a harsh kick to the scrotum than step out into the open where the embarrassment of failing would be seen by the judgmental world. And the people in that world are only happy you failed because they can feel better about never trying.

Folks, I’m a failure. I have been my whole life, and it shows. I have been down to my last $20.65. I have lost $3000 with a single, drunken click. I have crashed cars, been fired, been the reason my team lost, been so depressed I couldn’t move, liked the girl but could not open my mouth, and so much more.

Failing sucks. There’s no way to add soft, fluffy feathers to it. It sucks and you never want it to happen. But it does and it will. So when failure happens, use these 5 unusual ways to deal with the situation.

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1. Get Back Up…With Caution

There’s that old Chinese Proverb about being knocked down seven times but standing back up eight. I like agreeing with it, it makes me sound persistent and tough. But it’s also stupid. If a bear knocked you down, started walking away, and you stood back up, he would come back and kill you. If you stayed down maybe you would be lucky enough to be left alone. I don’t know, I’ve never been attacked by a bear, but I assume you are supposed to play dead for a reason.

I have seen people lose their family, home, friends, everything; all because they wouldn’t admit their business was dead. So they went bankrupt and ended up in a small empty apartment, alone. You can keep getting up if you want, but make sure the fight will be worth it.

2. Unleash All Of Your Hate Immediately

When I was a teenager I used to get so mad I’d punch a cement wall until blood smeared across the blue paint. It hurt but I felt better. I don’t recommend that, though. I still get mad when bad things happen, but I don’t beat up walls anymore. I write instead. And it helps just as much, plus it’s far less intense and personally abusive, so bonus. Writing about my failures helps me get over them, even laugh at them a little. Laughing is good. And if you can eventually laugh at your mistakes and failures, then you are on an amazing path to recovery.

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3. Watch Your Favorite Comedian

I recently discovered the comedian Stewart Lee and I love his comedy. But I also love old performers like the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. The point is, whatever makes me laugh I watch when I feel worse than everybody who invested with Bernie Madoff and found themselves caught up in a fraud. It helps. It doesn’t cure, but who cares? Giving your brain a rest from obsessing about failing is healthy. Be healthy, laugh as much as you can. It will increase your oxytocin and you’ll feel a lot better.

4. Drink Coffee In A Crowded Area

Drink coffee, or don’t drink coffee. Drink milk mixed with orange juice for all it matters. Just surround yourself with a bustling crowd. Maybe kids will be laughing and screaming through a water fountain. Maybe the cute girl at the coffee shop will have a laughing seizure from your joke and you’ll feel better. Maybe someone will smile at you as they walk by. I don’t know, lots of things happen in crowded spots.

Sit back and watch. Enjoy the scene. Enjoy the coffee. All the noise and people will get your brain working. Come up with new ideas. How can you make a comeback? What went wrong and how could you have done better? What can you do to get started on building some new momentum?

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Or just sit and enjoy the energy around you. You can think about your next move later.

5. People Don’t Care So You Shouldn’t Either

Other than your significant other, who actually cares about your failures? Yes, they will be supportive but they have their own problems and failures to worry about. They can give you some advice and maybe even a little help, but it all comes down to you getting over the failure yourself. Don’t assume people will stop their lives to help you back on your feet. It all comes down to you, so you need to start the process of figuring it out.

I used to get enraged at people for not caring more about my problems. If I was the most important person in my world, I should be the most important person in everyone’s world. I’d just get depressed and helpless and eat a lot of macaroni mixed with tuna and mushroom soup. Oh, and you can’t forget the gallons of rye and ginger ale. Caring about what others thought, or didn’t think of me, kept me down and kept me drinking.

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It took a lot of time but I don’t care as much anymore. It’s my life, my failures, my story, my ability to succeed. So go after success – whatever that means to you – and enjoy your life as much as you can. If you fail – and you will – it’s okay. It’s all part of the game. Enjoy the game.

Featured photo credit:  isan via Compfight via flickr.com

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Daniel CJ Grant

Daniel is the author of "Notes from a Failure". He writes about failure and success.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive

It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.

However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson

When I was younger — in my teens and early 20s — I was trapped. Not physically, but mentally: by the destructive thought pattern called pessimism. This negative thinking poisoned what might have been a pretty good and opportunity-filled childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This pessimism created ceilings and walls where there really were none.

Throughout the period when I was ridden by pessimism, my life and I mostly stood still. Looking back, it was a terrible waste. If you are in pessimistic place, you don’t have to stay there for the rest of your life. I didn’t, for I learned to replace my negative thinking with optimism.

In this article I’ll explore nine positivity habits that have helped me to go from someone who was pessimistic most of the time to someone who is now optimistic almost all the time. I recommend to not try to add all the habits at one go but to choose one habit and to practice it for 30 days so it becomes a habit, before adding the next.

1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.

A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:

  • “Why did this happen to me?”
  • “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”

But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:

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  • “What is one good thing about this situation?”
  • “What can I learn from this situation?”
  • “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”

2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In

The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.

Watch this YouTube video and learn the power of a positive environment:

So choose to:

  • Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
  • Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.

3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)

A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.

I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:

  1. What can I be grateful for in my life today?
  2. Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
  3. What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

Just spend 60 seconds or a few minutes during your day with answering one of these questions to reap the wonderful benefits.

4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self

Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.

I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.

If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.

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So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.

5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way

The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.

So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?

A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.

This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.

6. Focus on Solutions

A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.

If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:

What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?

Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:

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What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?

The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.

7. Reduce Your Worries

The worrying habit is a powerful and destructive one and can take over anyone’s thinking. It used to be one of my biggest obstacles to optimism and to moving forward in life.

Two effective steps that have helped me and still help me to this day to minimize the worries are:

  1. Ask yourself: how many of my worries ever happened in reality? If you are like me you will find that the answer is: very few. Most of the things you fear throughout your life will never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. This question can help you to do a reality check, to calm down and to realize that you have most likely just been building another imaginary nightmare.
  2. Focus on solutions and the action you can take. The worries grow stronger in a foggy mind and an inactive body. So use the questions in Steps 1 and 6 to move out of your worries and into resolution.

8. Don’t Let Ideals Ruin Things

A common mistake people make when making a shift in their attitudes is that they think that they have be perfect and do things perfectly all the time. This traps them from being positive.

Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive viewpoint more and more.

But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.

So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can.

This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.

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9. Finally, a Reminder to Help You to Not Give Up

I would like to end this article with a simple but powerful and timeless thought that comforted and encouraged me to continue on when things looked bleak.

That thought is: It is always darkest before the dawn.

This thought has helped me to hold on and keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It has helped me to continue on in my online business when things looked like they would never pick up. It has helped me to put one foot over another even when things looked dark.

I have found this thought to be very true. Why? Because when things seemed to be at the lowest for my blog, business, dating life or life in general, something positive would always happened. That’s probably because being at a low point forced me to change how I did things.

But maybe also because life has a way of evening itself out when I go on. By taking action rather than give up, something good will always happens.

Seeing this thought live itself out has strengthened my belief in staying optimistic, in taking action and to keep going even when going through rough patches.

Re-syndicated 9 Simple Habits to Stay Positive in Life | Personal Excellence

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Featured photo credit: Allie Smith via unsplash.com

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