Setbacks in any career are inevitable, and yet some people manage to succeed despite the worst of setbacks. Their secret is that they know the difference between a setback and failure. The two aren’t the same. A setback has to leave scars before it starts to become a failure. There are ways to protect yourself from being scarred. Some of these can be applied in advance, the way you’d apply prevention before you get sick. Others can be applied after a setback has occurred. But in both cases, anyone can learn the skills that are needed.
View yourself as a success, no matter what is happening.
Know your personal weaknesses and deal with them.
Address the influence of fear and anxiety.
Stay immersed in the details of your work.
Have a supportive family.
Participate in a supportive team atmosphere.
Identify with interests outside your work.
Develop core values.
Learn how to be centered.
As you can see, this is a sizable list, which includes some critical elements that even very successful people tend to ignore. Success is not a vaccine against failure. It would make life much simpler if it were, but there will always be challenges that lead to setbacks, and surviving the last crisis, although it will give you some measure of confidence and strength, is only part of the story. The rest depends on the things I’ve listed -let’s examine them in detail.
1. View yourself as a success, no matter what is happening.
Some people grow up feeling so worthy, loved, and special that setbacks affect them much less than other people. They shrug off setbacks and move on to the next challenge. Psychologists don’t seem to know enough about what shapes such fortunate adults when they were children and teenagers. But there’s no doubt that self-esteem can be improved – this is true for anyone. Amazing success has come to individuals with ideal family backgrounds and to those with the worst family background. The more attention you pay to increasing your self-esteem, the less you will be scarred by setbacks.
We don’t have enough space here to go into this topic in detail. There are many popular books on self-esteem. Find one that speaks to you, and begin practicing the recommended steps (I’ve written a book called Spiritual Solutions that covers the topic from the viewpoint of expanding your awareness, since low self-esteem is a form of constricted awareness).
2. Know your personal weaknesses and deal with them.
Most adults are keenly aware of the areas where they are weak, but in a culture where success is too often seen in terms of toughness, admitting a weakness, even to yourself, is considered the sign of a loser. This is far from true in real life, where knowing yourself is an enormous advantage on the road to success. It’s not possible to be all things to all people. No one is a superman or superwoman. If you look in the mirror and honestly assess what you’re good at and what your weak points are, whether it’s a hot temper, perfectionism, procrastination, or any other personal trait, the act of being honest is the first step in getting better. Hiding your weaknesses rarely works, since the people who work and live with us generally know already what our liabilities are.
3. Address the influence of fear and anxiety.
Modern life is anxious and stressful. Medical statistics tell us that prescriptions for antidepressants and tranquilizers keep soaring, but no one knows why something like 80% of these medications go to women. Perhaps they are better than men at admitting how they feel inside and taking steps to get better. The whole area of how to treat psychological problems is controversial and perpetually in flux. Popping a pill may or may not alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, but for certain it doesn’t offer a cure. You need to realize that anxiety is a natural reaction to stress. Reducing the pressure at work makes a good beginning, along with meditation, exercise, and learning to relax outside work. Listen to your body. If you are tired, have trouble sleeping, experience muscle tension or other discomforts, these signals should be heeded before you reach the stage of feeling anxious or depressed. It’s significant that a recent study found that getting enough sleep turned out to be a major preventive in depression.
4. Stay immersed in the details of your work.
Setbacks feel worse when they come as a surprise or shock. This can be ameliorated by knowing in advance as ……
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