Let’s face it, setbacks and failures are part and parcel of life. We all face setbacks and experience failures in our journey, it is something normal that happens to everyone who lives. The only person who doesn’t have any worry, problem, or ever faces any setback is the one who is sleeping in the graveyard.
It may sound harsh, but it is a truth. As long as you live in this world, there will be times when you have to face the hard times and learn how to persevere and bounce back quickly.
This is especially true if you want to live successfully and create remarkable success in your life. It is not easy, but it is doable. However, you must first learn how to handle the setbacks and failures whenever they come.
The difference between someone highly successful and someone who is not is the way they deal with their setbacks in life.
Setbacks and failures are normal, they are like rains. You cannot prevent the rain from falling, but you can choose to either enjoy the rain or use an umbrella to shelter yourself.
The same goes for handling setbacks and failures in life. You can choose to either enjoy them as part of life, or you can learn how to create a bunker and shelter yourself from them.
Here are 7 great suggestions that I personally will do whenever I’m feeling stuck and are getting nowhere. You can do the same. Let me know if these suggestions work for you.
1. Accept the hard truth and ask, “What can I do about it?”
One of the things that I will do whenever I’m facing setbacks in my life is that I will just accept the hard truth. If I fail to produce the result I want, I will accept the reality that I have failed, but then I will do a follow up by asking myself, “So, what can I do about it now?”
I found that accepting the reality is not something bad. In fact, it is good because when you accept the truth and the reality, it allows you stop living in the fantasy and instead, come up with a better solution to overcome what is happening in the reality.
For example, if I fail to hit my blogging target last month, I will face the fact that I have failed, but I did not allow myself to wallow in it. I will then identify what went wrong and how can I do better this month.
I choose to focus on accepting the reality and improvement rather than escaping from the reality and continue to fantasize that things will get better.
This method is also mentioned in the best-selling book, “Good to Great”, written by Jim Collins. It is a great business book that I strongly suggest you read.
2. Know that setbacks are parts of the journey
You have to understand that failures and setbacks are a part of your journey. They are an absolutely normal phenomenon that everyone faces in life, including you, me, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and everyone you can ever think of.
When you watch a superheroes movie, you will see that villains are also there. The villains are there to show the audience how powerful and strong the superheroes are. Without the villains, the movie will be boring and nobody will enjoy it.
It is the same in life. If your journey to success is smooth, without ups and downs, peaks and valleys, perhaps, you will never be successful because you are not going to learn a thing or two.
Remember, it is the hardships that build the strong characters. Without setbacks and failures, you will never learn about success.
Therefore, whenever you are feeling stuck, getting nowhere or facing some tough times, just tell yourself that these are the greatest moments that will transform you into someone worthwhile of success.
3. Take a day off
Yes, sometimes I will just take a day off or do something else for a couple of hours before I dive back into my work.
You can take an off day, but please, do not take an off life. It is alright to get some rest whenever you are tired, but that doesn’t mean that you can take your entire life off. If you do so, your life will be ruined.
Usually, I will just play some games, watch a movie, take a sleep, visit the bookstore, go to Starbucks and enjoy a cup of coffee, etc.
The key is to get yourself away from the situation so that you can clear your mind and stop thinking about the problem. Whenever you detach yourself from the problem or the situation, the solution will come to you automatically.
This is what Jack Ma, the founder of the largest e-commerce company in China will do as well. Jack once told in an interview that whenever he faces problems and he has no solution, he will just walk away and take a nap. He said that somehow after he walked away from the tough situation, the answer will come to him.
Hence, stop giving yourself more pressure. Instead, choose to walk away from the situation and allow your subconscious mind to come up with a solution.
4. Talk to someone positive
This may be an old-school suggestion, but it is still very effective in lifting your spirit. I have done this many times. Sometimes when I’m feeling dejected, I will just message my friends and get them out for a drink.
Of course, who you talk to matters the most. I choose to talk to someone that shares similar dreams with me. I’m trying to build my online presence and I want to build a successful blog, so when I choose to talk to someone, I will go for someone who also wants to build a successful career or a business.
I found that talking to someone who is on the same page with me gives me the most inspiration. This is because the person understands my situation and he or she can relate to it.
I believe that you already have someone in your mind who you want to share your story with when you are down. Identify a few of them, and invite them out for a drink or meet at Starbucks to talk hearts.
Remember, choose to talk to someone positive who shares similar dreams. If you choose to talk to someone who complains and blames often, he will drag you down even further.
5. Read a book
Oh, this is what I often do. When the tough times come and you have no idea what to do, choose to read a book. Not any book, but personal development books.
Reading has been a huge part of my life and I dedicated reading as the habit that changes my life. If it is not for the books that I read, I won’t be here writing this to you right now.
Almost all highly successful people read books. Reading does not only inspire you, it also widens your perspective and it allows you to see things that are beyond your current reality.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.”
The books that you read can change your mind and the way you think, and thus, it can also transform and change your life too.
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
6. Count your blessings
Another great thing you can do whenever you have failed is to count your blessings. There have been plenty of studies done about gratitude, and the results from those studies are spectacular. You can read it here.
Here’s an article that talks about the 31 benefits of gratitude. Check it out, you will be amazed.
What I normally do to count my blessings is to sit on the sofa, close my eyes, and then I will put my right palm on my chest. And I will think and visualize all the things that I’m grateful for.
Every time when I put my hand on my heart, I feel my heart pumping. I feel my breathing and then I will tell myself that I’m grateful that my heart is still pumping, I’m able to breathe, and still live in this world. Next, I will visualize the things that I’m blessed such as having a supportive wife, a shelter over my heart, enough food on the table, etc.
You don’t have to follow the way how I did it. You can do it your own way. But feeling your heartbeat and breathing can be a great way to start.
7. Trust that God has a bigger plan for you
After you have done all the suggestions above, the last thing you should do is to believe that God has a bigger plan for you. Sometimes you may not understand why things are going against you, but you just need to have faith and believe that the Universe or the higher power is giving you another better plan.
When you face insurmountable obstacles and are having difficult times, things can seem bleak, but trust that everything is happening exactly in the right order.
Sometimes, we just cannot explain why things happened that way. You just have to trust that the future is turning out the best for you.
Steve Jobs told a great story about connecting the dots in life in the commencement speech at Stanford University. You can watch the video below:
If Steve Jobs was never fired from Apple, he would never have discovered Pixar and bounced back stronger into Apple. Had he not dropped out from college, he would never have the chance to go into calligraphy classes that interested him. And if Jobs did not go into the calligraphy class, Apple would never have the beautiful typefaces it has today.
You will never know how your future will turn out. So choose to trust that the dots will connect somehow and that God has a bigger plan for you.
So the next time you feel stuck, getting nowhere, or want to bounce back quickly, use these suggestions. Of course, there are much more things that you can do besides these suggestions, but these are the things that I usually do.
More importantly, whatever you choose to do, do not ever give up and choose to continue to strive forward. Choose to believe that things will get better and your goals and dreams are on their way.