We come across people losing their loved ones, meeting with accidents and missing significant targets by narrow margins. People have break-ups in their relationships, major drops in their wealth and the sudden rise of their adversaries at work. Entrepreneurs fail, businesses lose steam and opportunities slip away from the hands. Each of these events could set people back by a few years in their lives, break their confidence and dampen their zeal. Some of them can resurrect themselves, rise again and come back to the top again. How do they do this?
Many of us stay frozen when the setback event takes place and continue to deny the setback. We attribute several external factors to the setback and miss the opportunity for deep introspection. In the process, we are on the losing side anyway which impairs our chances of a fast recovery.
There could indeed be environmental factors like accidents, floods, earthquakes, pandemics, government regulations, wars or events in the family that could impact one’s performance and chances. These environmental factors are not in anyone’s control. We have to accept reality and give ourselves a chance to return to our normal day-to-day life and our pursuit of excellence.
A setback hurts us emotionally; it leaves us angry, frustrated, disappointed, anxious, embarrassed or whatever else we feel after the setback. We must not conceal those feelings and acknowledge whatever experience we are going through. Unless we are honest with ourselves, the feelings do not find their expression and could hurt us in the long run. We have to talk to ourselves or some people we are comfortable discussing these experiences. We have to allow some time for this process of acknowledgement to happen properly.
Once we have accepted the reality, we have to think about the event, reflect upon it and draw some lessons from it. Even if the setback was due to uncontrollable factors such as government regulations, natural calamities or macroeconomic developments, there are many impressions an event leaves on our minds and one can always reflect upon the way we react or respond to a situation. Product launches do not work as per the plan, investments do not yield desired outcomes, demand patterns of our products change and many such setbacks come upon us; these are due to some decisions the leaders take or do not take.
Every setback offers us opportunities to garner perspectives, grow our maturity and go closer to our goals. We should be grateful that such an event has crossed our path and offered us the opportunity to learn. It is up to us to avail this opportunity!
Once we have acknowledged the setback, reflected upon it and drawn the lessons, we have to move forward. Edison failed a huge number of times before he invented the light bulb, Col Sanders was turned away by several restaurateurs when he approached them with his novel recipe of fried chicken, Amitabh Bachhan was rejected multiple times to be a radio presenter, Walt Disney was told that he lacked creativity and many such events stand out as setbacks.
Every day, millions of people are facing setbacks. Each of them needs to believe that can recover and make progress; they need to understand that failure is not permanent; they must keep attempting until they succeed again.