If you ever fail . . .

No wait, that’s not the correct statement to begin with!

In life it’s not about ‘if you fail’, but about ‘when you fail’. Failure is an inevitable part of life. We all encounter failure at different stages of our lives – be it a failure in academics at school or college level, failure in securing a job of one’s choice, failure in marrying a beloved, failure in sustaining a marriage, failure in begetting children, failure in giving happiness to others, failure in exercising self-control over our passions and temptations, and on go the variations.

Be prepared

Don’t be surprised when failure greets you unawares. The best of your preparation may end up in a failure. Hence, being prepared for outcomes of all sorts minimizes the jerks given by failures.

Avoid negative people

Avoid the company of people who point out to your failure time and again and make you feel that you are worth nothing. Negative people breed negativity. Hence, quit their company.

Don’t closet yourself

Don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. Don’t shut yourself in a room for long, shedding endless tears. After a brief mourning period, gather yourself and mingle with like-minded understanding people. Sometime back I met up with a friend to cheer her up as she was going through a gloomy phase having not cleared an exam (which I myself had not cleared too) after a lot of hard work. Sensing that she needed to venture out from her room, I suggested that we go out to have dinner. We went to an eatery not far from where we were staying. As we placed the order for food, I noticed that there was a big group, around 10-12, sitting in front of us. From there conversation, I gathered that all of them had not cleared the same exam and wanted to wind up the episode in an upbeat manner before gearing up for the next phase!

Forge positive relationships

Be in the presence of people who would lift you up and show you the silver lining beneath the dark thundering clouds. Encouragement and motivation work wonders in boosting up the morale when you feel like giving up.

Gear up for what is to come next

It is natural to feel dejected and sink into sadness (or depression in extreme cases) when you fail. But, that robs away the time to prepare for what is to come next. So, do not allow yourself to brood over your failures for long. Gird yourself for what is to come next.

Speaking from personal experience (and many of you would agree to it too), the day after experiencing the failure generally hits the hardest. When you open your eyes the next morning after an almost sleepless night and come face to face with reality, everything seems blank and there arises a sinking feeling within. This is exactly when you need to pick up the reins and brace yourself for the next phase.

Failure may be a one day occurrence that hits hard (a relationship break up/an academic failure/losing in a game) or a phase that lingers on for quite some time (financial debt/deteriorating marriage). And, not many have the ability to bounce back and be in high spirits immediately. We have grown up with the famous saying – ‘Failure is the stepping stone to success.’ But, rarely does this saying give an instant kick when the sky is falling apart over us.

I really like the concept of ‘Failing forward’ given by America’s leadership expert John C. Maxwell who has penned a book by the same title too. Failing Forward is the belief that dealing with failure intelligently will be the driver to improve further on in life. So, don’t let failure squeeze the life out of you. Give yourself a pat on the back, assess the loopholes and look ahead to mend them. There is always light at the end of a tunnel!

When you fail, remember you are not alone.

When you fail, remember you tried.

When you fail, remember this is not the end of the road.

When you fail, remember God is still in control.

Knowing that God is in control has helped me to bounce back in the face of failures and rejoice with the understanding that the failure was for a purpose and is not meant to be the end of the road.