Learn to tackle setbacks by knowing how to deal with them

Learn to tackle setbacks by knowing how to deal with them



  • maria
    Maria Bonita
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    Overcoming setbacks: How to find another way

    One of my cousins’ lost more than 25 lakhs of his investment in machinery because of the Chennai floods in 2015. What followed was a long bout of depression that he struggled to come out for a long period. However, he made a comeback; he restarted his venture and is now reaping the benefits of persistence.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill.

    Dream, setback, and aftermath

    What is a setback?

    Setbacks may be single or multiple situations that block your progress forward. You are not totally down, but you feel depressed and unable to respond positively. The need of the hour is to pull back and recoup from that setback.

    There is nothing as depressing in life as having a dream, reaching the brink, and then falling from the top.

    Assume a girl is at the brink of immortality leading at the last lap of an Olympic track and field event but twisting her leg just near the finish line!

    So many years of dreaming of achieving and training to win dashed to the ground in one second!

    The twist and the fall is a significant setback tough to recover.

    The need to overcome the setback

    In reality, failure is not a deep pit that you cannot climb over. It is a hurdle that can help you practice for your final and best attempt to reach the doors of victory. Just focus on overcoming your setbacks, then restart with vigor.

    How can one overcome setbacks?

    Here are some tips for doing it.

    1. Anticipate setbacks. Setbacks or roadblocks are bound to happen. Accept them to be ready for them.

    2. Have a timeframe to endure the disappointment. Once a setback occurs, you move many steps backward emotionally as your energy is completely drained. Do not wallow in self-pity or overthink. Give yourself some time to ponder. Then get back to action soon.

    3. Boost Self-confidence through external and internal factors.

    4. Give more importance to facts, assessing and correcting the failure that has occurred.

    5. Focus ahead. Plan the next move. Make a list of alternatives you have. Brainstorm for your next move.

    6. Implement what you want to plan.

    Setbacks can happen anywhere, either in education, sport, work, or real life. Each type of setback should be handled with self-confidence, focus and vision, and a drive to achieve what was lost.

    How to combat - Academic failures

    A common notion is that academics could make or break a person’s career. It is true only in a few cases.

    Never get depressed when you lose an opportunity to complete a particular course or degree successfully.

    Sometimes you might fail an exam or a series of exams, or a particular grade. It could be your favorite subject, or it could be a field of study you had chosen out of compulsion.

    If you fail, then understand, it is not a significant setback. There are always many opportunities to make a comeback.

    Therefore, when you falter at one-step, the following text can help you balance yourself and move further…

    Pacify yourself. Assure yourself that it is human to fail and that you can recover from the situation. The failure is passed you, and now it is time to look into the future.

    Focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Notice in which areas you are lacking. If you have failed in multiple subjects, then assess all. If you have failed in one subject, then note down which areas you find difficult.

    Choose and take the help of friends who you think can help you with acing up your studies.

    Take the help of teachers to clear your doubts on areas you are unable to comprehend. You can also ask for exam tips to help you clear the exam, which you will be attending again.

    Take the help of parents and well-wishers to support you at the emotional level.

    During exams, concentrate on how to prepare for them. Learn tips and tricks to condense the syllabus and complete revising before the exams

    Be confident during your preparation and in the exam hall.

    Read inspirational books to boost your morale.

    Set a timetable etc., to prepare for the exams and do your best next time around.

    Academics are part of life, not life itself. There is more out there for you to achieve!

    In case you feel that this subject area is not for you, take up another area of study. Remember, keeping faith in yourself is more important at all times.

    Setbacks at work

    Every person experiences setbacks at work. The boss might publicly criticize you. Your promotion does not materialize, or the increment you received was way below your expectations. Some setbacks may even tamper with your career; you may lose your job also.

    While setbacks occurrence cannot be controlled, there are techniques that you can use to face them.

    1. Be prepared

    Create a strong base in the Company by being a responsible employee. Take care of your physical and mental health so that in case of untoward setbacks, you are fit enough to handle them.

    2. Accept the situation

    Since setbacks and failures occur in spite of being prepared, learn to accept the situation. Ignore negative emotions and move towards improving your situation in a positive manner.

    3. Setbacks = Learning

    Make setbacks as a lesson for you to move higher. Understand where you have gone wrong. Do not make that mistake again; instead, take an alternative that you think will be successful. Do not judge or blame others. Take responsibility and act wisely.

    4. Reach out

    Keep networking for ideas, jobs, support, motivation, and inspiration. When you are feeling sad or depressed because of a setback, your supporters, well-wishers, and other staff can help you relieve stress and show ways to overcome the situation.

    5. Plan and implement your strategy

    Assess the setback and seek out ways as to how you can overcome it. Devise a plan, seek alternatives, brainstorm ideas, and ask for advice from your peers to write down a foolproof plan to triumph over the setback.

    6. Act

    Finally, act on this plan as early as possible.

    In sport

    If you are a sportsperson, you may experience a unique set of problems, anxieties, and adverse situations.

    Now and then, injuries hamper progress.

    Other times you feel the pressure of the occasion that makes you overawed, leading to underperformance.

    Occasionally your concentration levels dip due to professional or personal reasons and hence directly affect your big day performances.

    Failing at the ultimate game is a more debilitating occurrence since efforts you made all your life will come to naught.

    All the above situations, in extreme cases, may be debilitating. How do you overcome them? Here are some ways to help you...

    Be resilient. When you face an adverse situation, address it first. Take a doctor’s advice. Rest for the period advised. Only when you are feeling better start training for your sport again.

    Focus on what you can control. Injuries are unavoidable in sport. Every sportsperson is vulnerable to injury. The only way open is to take the necessary medication and rest, and come back with a bang.

    Athletes should do all it takes to keep themselves fit at all times...it could be following a particular diet, exercise, or training with professionals who can help you stay fit always.

    Have a positive attitude towards the situation. Keep your mind in a positive frame of mind. Think ahead about the next set of challenges and start planning accordingly.

    See failures as a lesson for the future.

    Take rest, follow rehabilitation measures and recouping strategies, then you can go back to training and participate.

    Also, do not let setbacks or failures affect your future game, career, or life negatively. Be ever-optimistic, waiting to exploit the next opportunity that comes your way.

    For Managers, Leaders, and Entrepreneurs

    Overcoming setbacks is very important for an organization to move forward. Leaders of the organization should take the necessary steps in this process. So that the employees or staff of the organization continue to be passionate about their work and work towards the progress of the organization.

    The way a leader handles a setback will also improve his or her standing upon his juniors. Here is how you as a Manager/Leader/Entrepreneur can work at overcoming a setback experienced by your organization

    1. The first thing you should do is to stay calm. If you are distressed, the people around you will lose hope. Staying calm also helps you to assess the situation at hand and consider what should be done next.

    2. Understand what went wrong and how the problem can be resolved.

    3. Assess what strengths and weaknesses of the company to redress the setback.

    4. Plan a strategy accordingly. Remember, the strategy should be forward-looking, i.e., it should have long-term benefits.

    5. Inform all concerned staff about the gravity of the situation and broach the plan you have primed to offset it.

    6. Be positive when you are communicating with your staff. Also, make your staff understand what the lesson to be learned from the setback is

    7. Take complete charge of the situation by taking the action necessary to put your organization back on track towards its goals. It is also required to involve every one of your organizations in implementing your strategy.

    In conclusion

    The key to handling setbacks is to assess their implications and finding solutions to handle them calmly. The sooner a deliberate action is taken, the better.


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