Did Failure Break Your Heart? 3 Steps to Getting Back in the Game - Common Sense Living Newsletter
 
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Did Failure Break Your Heart? 3 Steps to Getting Back in the Game

Feb 24, 2015

 

It seems nowadays everybody is starting something - a business, a website, a news channel, an NGO... Young graduates of business school, non-business school, or no school are all rolling up their sleeves ready to get their hands dirty in the startup race.

Do you think, 'If I was a bright, young, upstart with fifty good years ahead of me I would start something too?'

So why don't you?

Unlike the young upstart you have years of work and life experience, you have the wisdom to make good decisions and relationships, you know your strengths and weaknesses - you are far better prepared to start something successfully than the young entrepreneurial hero.

You say you just don't have time - but you have been saying this to yourself for years knowing that if you really wanted you could find the time. You say you have more responsibilities - but you do not need to give up your steady job, income and stability to simply start something small.

None of these excuses are valid. Here's the only thing that's stopping you...

You have been burned before and are afraid to be burned again.

Failure Can be Heartbreaking but You Can Overcome it.
Sign N Symbol Production/Shutterstock

The fearlessness of the young newbie is unbridled - he believes the world is his and with sheer force of determination and energy he will conquer it. He has, as yet, not learned the harsh lessons of failure, or tasted the bitter pill of rejection. Ah, to be young again.

You, on the other hand, have battle scars from trying and failing, and trying and failing. And now you are older and 'too sensible' (at least that's what you tell yourself) to try something new.

Steve Jobs told young graduates to 'stay hungry stay foolish'. He didn't tell them to be hungry and foolish. They already probably were. He told them to stay that - because he knows what you know - that the world will keep knocking you down until you give up foolishness to become sensible instead. And his message is - don't let that happen. Don't get knocked down. Don't give up.

But it is just so hard to overcome the heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, kick in the stomach that is failure.

We have developed various coping mechanisms for the tough stuff that life throws at us - if we get cancer we have cancer support groups to help us through, if we lose someone there are elaborate ceremonies to ensure we can deal with grief, if we lose love we have friends and family rally around us cheering us up, or a therapist to help us through the heartbreak.

Where are the failure support groups?

You tried to start something and you failed miserably - you wander around the graveyard of your losses - abandoned website, empty office, unrecovered funding - alone and bewildered. How do you get back on the road to foolishness knowing this is where it can lead?

Who can you turn to for help. And the answer is, as you probably already know, yourself.

Outlined below is a 3-pronged approach you can use to help get over the heartbreak of failure. Use this process to never be afraid of failure - and always ready to start something new and foolish.

FEEL: Accept, acknowledge, and 'let it go'...

Things didn't go your way. Either it was your fault or somebody else's fault or just circumstance. It doesn't matter.

You might be feeling angry and hurt - how could this happen to me? I tried so hard. Embarrassed and guilty -I'm just no good. I messed up. I made a fool of myself and I don't deserve anything better.

At such a time, talking to people doesn't always help either. Most people don't know what to say and will just tell you to 'stay strong' or 'move on'.

But you are not strong right now. And to move on you need to acknowledge that you are vulnerable.

What are you feeling? Whatever it is, feel it. Let it hurt. Cry if you must - our society is changing we are trying to move away from the 'boys don't cry' culture - jump on that bandwagon if you must.

Listen to heartbreaking music - wallow in your feelings. Smash things (not valuable things!). Take a boxing class and smash the life out of a boxing bag. Take a tennis racquet and hit a ball against a wall till your arms ache.

Just like with any loss, accepting, acknowledging and engaging with your emotions will get you ready to deal with them, forgive yourself and let it go.

THINK: Don't leave this failure behind without taking from it two crucial lessons...

There is much to learn from your failure. We read about other people's failures and successes - so we think we are prepared when we set out on our own.

But no two people are the same - like everyone else, you are unique. You can learn about life by reading (and you should) but you can learn about yourself only by doing.

So in your assessment take a good hard look at what really happened and acknowledge both the good and bad. Look for answers to two questions...

Identify your areas of strength by asking: What did I do really well and enjoy doing? Which part of this experience gave me an adrenaline rush - made me feel happy, or proud?

This answer will reassert your self-worth, and show you that trying something new is worth it.

Then identify your challenges by asking: What could I not do, where did I mess up, and why? Is this something I can overcome? How?

This answer will identify in which ways you need to either change your path, learn something new, or strengthen yourself to keep moving forward.

If you come away from that experience knowing yourself better, it was a success.

ACT: Let your failures pave the path to success...

Just as the best way to get over heartbreak in love is to find someone else to love, the best way to get over the heartbreak of failure, is to start something else.

I recently met a guy who described himself as a 'failing entrepreneur'. He has been starting things for about ten years - none of them took off. He keeps trying. He keeps failing.

But he has not failed. And he never will. You can only fail when you quit.

Ten years and nothing to show for it. He was earning just enough to support his family. And spending a whole lot of time working on his ventures. And had no intention of quitting.

What would you say to him? If you heard the determination in his voice, you would not tell him to quit.

You would see in his actions that he was being foolish, and you would applaud him. I saw in his decisions a persistence I lacked and I admired him.

Be a bulldozer. As the management guru Peter Drucker said, 'Bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozers should go to work.'

So get to work again - on an idea that incorporates what you learned - builds on your strengths and helps you to circumvent your weaknesses. And keep moving ahead, ploughing down challenges as they arise, never stopping.

Let Feel-Think-Act become your pathway to follow in life - in every area of it. If you can get in touch with your heart and your brain and use what you learn from them to fuel your actions - you are living right and it won't matter if you are then labeled 'success' or 'failure'.

 
 

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15 Responses to "Did Failure Break Your Heart? 3 Steps to Getting Back in the Game"

George J

10 Oct, 2015

I'm 50 now and on my 5th venture, not that I've reached anywhere with it after launch 3 years ago. But the recognition for our work which is not main stream is slowly riding. The most absurd action which I took after my worst failure was work on totally new endeavour which I was not at all familiar with, but that was because I realised that it was my 'worst failure' which nudged me to this work. So the lesson from my failures are : 1. Keep Walking. I've done absurd (creative) work for free when I was down and out. But did not wait to recuperate, just kept doing stuff. The only thought which was running thru my head was - I got to keep my brain intact. So kept working, kept waking. 2. Failure is the moment when life is trying to speak to you, trying to nudge you to where you are supposed to be, provided you allow it to, and that cannot happen if you are standing still and not doing anything. 3. Failure is part of the process to success. But success is not the end either. This entire journey is about finding your self, your life which is under constant construction. 4. After each failure, I could look back and find where I slipped and where I faltered. After the last one when I reached 40, which ended up in a great financial mess, one of my friends asked me, "what's the moral of the story" I replied, "I feel as if I am just out of college and ready to start my life, but yes, the fees was pretty high" So here I'm once again at the bottom of my barrel, plodding on, and am still walking

gsk

26 Jun, 2015

It is wonderful to read your article and the comments of Keki Hiloo ji. thanks and no one can say more than that. Just for you to read again. gsk Hi Anisa, Couldn't agree more with you. However there is another important point. Just as after every illness you need to take time off to recover, after every failure also you need to give yourself sufficient time to completely get rid of the emptiness or bitterness that was caused by the failure. If you still carry the weight of your past failure there is a very high probability that you will fail again. So it is absolutely necessary to be positively charged mentally before you move on. You have to leave the old baggage and start all over again to win the game

Mallinath

27 Mar, 2015

Failures are the pillars of success.

Like (1)

Keki Hilloo

26 Feb, 2015

Hi Anisa, Couldn't agree more with you. However there is another important point. Just as after every illness you need to take time off to recover, after every failure also you need to give yourself sufficient time to completely get rid of the emptiness or bitterness that was caused by the failure. If you still carry the weight of your past failure there is a very high probability that you will fail again. So it is absolutely necessary to be positively charged mentally before you move on. You have to leave the old baggage and start all over again to win the game.

Like (2)

Ashis Biswas

26 Feb, 2015

Nice article.

Romit Chhabra

25 Feb, 2015

Great article on a very important topic. Keep up the good work.

Sanjeev S

25 Feb, 2015

Nice read Anisha and really true .. people who are unable to appreciate this article probably not have gone thru any of these phases and hence feel "away" however, if you have gone thru , then you realize the understanding and the thought process !!!

Murali

25 Feb, 2015

Good article... From my experience of "failures", more than the lack of planning, it is the "ahead of time" ideas that you have, which fail. taking the "bulldozer" simile, your idea of taking on the mountain fails because no one wants to move the mountain "at the time you implement your idea". however some time later, you watch aghast as someone who has seen you using the bulldozer, starts moving the mountain... it is this ahead of time tag that has seen me fail in "many" of my ventures and though pricking, it is great to watch someone taking a cue out of my failure and making it a success... about learning from failures, i dont think anyone does so, as the next idea you get is not at all connected with the earlier one that failed. and further if you go on analysing and "learning" from your so called failures, it will only serve to deflate the "BIG" idea you just got !!! .... So friends, go on with trying out your new idea, if you can do so, with the least "strain" on your family life... as they are the only ones who prop you up after each failure... :)

Like (1)

Arul Seeli

25 Feb, 2015

Dear Readers Failure can break heart, mind and body in the lives of any body, there is no exceptional or age limit for failure, pain, difficulties, misunderstanding and so on... But I tell you, when you have God in your life, He pierce through your life and make to stand strong, hole your head high, and lift you up from all that is evil. Love Failure is really distressing. It hurts when someone does not pay enough heed to your feelings. Love is indispensable and you just cannot say out of its magic. We are bound to fall in love, face misunderstanding in work place, mistrust with our own friends, hopelessness from our family, unwanted by our kith and kin, unloved by our life partner.... Fortunate are the ones who find their ideal soul mates. But, it is really disheartening when your feelings are not reciprocated in the same way. Time is a great healer. There is no pain and agony that cannot be treated with time. During breakups, you should always look for other options to keep you occupied. "Move on...." that is the ultimate advice we would like to give you. Everything is just going to be fine. "Whenever you are cheated from your loved once donot get angry on them.. Instead you spread a cute smile.. It gives a non curable pain on their heart…" "If I say “I love you” million times still it won’t be enough. Because i just love you so much. No one can say how much and can’t stop loving you! In my heart you will always be forever, forever here or there, near or far, my love will be wherever you are." “I thought that by telling myself and everyone else that I hated you. That sooner or later I would come to believe it. But I now realize that by lying, it makes me want you even more.” Letting go of someone dear to you is hard, but holding on to someone who doesn’t even feel the same is much harder. Giving up doesn’t mean you are weak! It only means that you are strong enough to let go! Oftentimes we say goodbye to the person we love without wanting to. Though that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped loving them or we’ve stopped to care. Sometimes goodbye is a painful way to say I love you. World’s most beautiful sentence “BUT…I LOVE U” World’s most painful sentence “I LOVE U…. BUT” words r same but where they r placed matters alot So often U lose someone by saying, “I LOVE U”, but more often u lose someone by fearing to say “I LOVE U” that’s d logic nobody understands A girl takes too much time to love and few seconds to hate. But a boy takes few seconds to love and too much time to hate Its amazing how someone can break your heart, but yet you still love them with every broken piece God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces. "Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart." "A breakup will always cause pain. There is nothing called amicable separation." "Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there." "Sometimes we dream too big without realizing that it is not feasible. May be I have wished from a person who have never understood my feelings." "Lucky that we are over. It’s time that I do what I have always intended to do." "I would always remember the good time that we have spent together no matter how ugly the end was." "We all make mistakes in life and I have made mine by choosing you to trust with my heart." "I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together again and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken -- and I'd rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived." "It is better to find love once and lose it than not finding it in your entire life." "With you I have learned how to love you but unfortunately not how to stop loving you." "Someone has rightly said that love is a war. You can start it very easily but it is difficult to end and it will always leave scars behind." "Love the one who cares for you . care the one who shares with you. share the one who knows you., know the one who miss you, but do not miss the one who is "dear & near"" "Friends are amazing when they are new, they are wonderful when they are true. but do you know they are a "blessing" when they r like you." "Flowers need sunshine, violets need dew, all angels in heaven know I need u. years may fly, tears may dry, but my friendship with u will never die. " "When u love someone it's like reaching for the stars u know u can't reach it.... But u keep trying because may be one day that star might fall for you...." "God never made us to face the tough times alone! that is where he made us." "When God opened the window of the Heaven He asked me: What is your wish for today? I said : please take special care of the person reading this!!!!!!!;" "Time might lead me to nowhere and faith might break into pieces but I will always be THANKFUL that once in my life's journey we became FRIENDS!" "I may not be able to get over my feelings for you but I can definitely channelize it to another direction." "Friends are amazing when they r new, they are wonderful when they r true. but do you know they r a "blessing" when they r like u." "Love until it hurts. Real love is always painful and hurts; then it is real and pure." "There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go." "I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate." "Love is not some complex, mystical abstraction. It is something accessible and human that we learn through our everyday experience, as often at times of failure as in moments of ecstasy." "Trying to make someone fall in love with you is about as pointless as trying to control who you fall in love with." "With you I have learned how to love you but unfortunately not how to stop loving you." "The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned." "Love gives joy to lucky people but to the unlucky every relationship gives pain in return for love." "Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart." "The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." "It is better to find love once and lose it than not finding it in your entire life." "Only at the time of separation you realize how deep your feelings were." "I know I mustn't blame anyone but sometimes it feels better to point a finger to someone else." "Time might lead me to nowhere and faith might break into pieces but I will always be THANKFUL that once in my life's journey we became FRIENDS!"

Like (1)

Srinivasan

24 Feb, 2015

100 % true. "Who can you turn to for help. And the answer is, as you probably already know, yourself."

deivanayagam

24 Feb, 2015

Too long. Reading is tedious and dreary.

praveen

24 Feb, 2015

Best article that I have read on this forum so far. It's relevant in every aspect of our live. Well done Anisa !

Jaishankar Jayaraman

24 Feb, 2015

Anisa Thank you so much for bringing this. Truly inspiring. I could relate myself well to the situation. I hope to emerge victorious very soon. Many thanks

Like (1)

Arun

24 Feb, 2015

One of the best articles I ever read. Very inspiring...Agree with the statement 'you are a failure only if you quit'.

harshita

24 Feb, 2015

U r a very good writer Anisa. And this article came on a very right tym for me as today only I got eliminated in a group discussion round of a company in which I desperately wanted to work. Your article showed me the way to lift my spirit up..keep on writing such articles people like me really need such articles..thank u so much??

Like (1)
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