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Health & Wellness

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: overcome failure and build resilience

There’s a word that’s often spoken in hushed tones, and to some, it’s seen almost as a dirty word. It starts with F… and goes by the name of Failure. It comes in many forms and hits you where it hurts the most — failing at an exam despite studying hard, or getting shot down at work, for instance. We know that sinking feeling all too well; where your bones feel weary and giving up feels like the only option.

But more often than not, the road to overcoming failure and eventually achieving success is never linear, and requires some effort before you finally start to see the fruits of your labour.

We’ve rounded up some tips on how you can overcome the fear of failure and failure itself, along with ways on how you can build up resilience.

Overcoming failure sounds like a daunting task, and while it might seem like it at first, remember that it’s all about perspective. So if you have to mope or cry for a while, do it. Let go of all the raw emotions holding you back, and commit to moving forward after.

Don’t be too fixated on the outcome

The thing about failure is that it creeps up on you, even before the outcome is known. Whether it’s a project at school or work, or even something as intangible as a relationship, preparing for a dichotomous outcome can cause too much unnecessary pressure. Focus on the task at hand, do the good work. Remember, you’re only able to control your actions, but never the outcome. So why worry over something that may not actually happen?

If you do fail… so what?

There’s a popular quote that goes, “forgiveness is the release of all hope of a better past.”

So you’ve experienced failure. But who hasn’t? Be kinder to yourself, and try not to beat yourself up over something that has happened. Life’s a marathon, and we’ll always be fumbling around and learning new things along the way as we pass new milestones and undergo new challenges. So fail as much as you need to, and learn from your mistakes. It’s the best type of learning experience. After all, what’s the worst that could happen, right?

Bounce back, because it’s necessary

We’re all human. And with every crash, there’s bound to be a burn. But remember that only you can save yourself. No matter what happens, time won’t slow down and the world won’t pause while waiting for you to pick up the pieces. You simply have to grit your teeth and soldier on.

While motivation is important to fight the good fight, how do we build resilience so that we’re able to go on when there are no external motivating factors?

Make the most of your situation, and give it your all

As the saying goes: “Play the hand you have in front of you, not the hand you wish you had.” Part of building resilience is learning to adapt to different situations, because life is never going to be a bed of roses. So expect the unexpected, figure out your strengths, and adapt as fast as you can.

View failure as a learning opportunity

If we don’t use the opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, we’re most likely going to repeat our mistakes time and again. And when that happens, it’s only going to hurt more each time.

When you fail, take time to be candid with yourself. We know it isn’t going to be an easy conversation to have with yourself, and could even be slightly painful. But set aside your ego, and learn to see the bigger picture. All forms of self-reflection lead to growth one way or another, so your future self will definitely thank you for your tenacity and resilience.

Train your brain

Tap into the power of mindfulness, where you train your mind to acknowledge your emotions, and to live in the moment. This is great in ensuring that you don’t fall prey to your own vulnerabilities, while ensuring that you direct your energy on things that are more important.

At the same time, you can also try to adopt the practice of manifestation, where you paint a positive image of your goals in your head, before immortalising them on paper. It could be in the form of a daily mantra you repeat to yourself daily, or something you keep in plain sight — like a sticky note with your goals, so that it’s always playing out in your subconscious. You’d be surprised by how integral the role of your subconscious is when seeking to achieve your goals!

Acknowledge your strengths and use this as motivation

We often beat ourselves up for our failures and shortcomings, but how often do we praise ourselves for how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve achieved in life? Make a list of some of your achievements, whether they’re tangible or not. It could be a skill you’re proud to have, or even a personality trait that makes you stand out and be proud of who you are.

Constantly remind yourself that you are more than your failures, and that you are physical proof of resilience and tenacity, stitched together by your strengths and achievements.

Surround yourself with positivity

This could be in the form of friends, loved ones, motivational quotes or even happy music! Being around people or things that make you happy will bring out the best in you, putting you in a positive frame of mind. When you’re overwhelmed by positivity, you’ll start to see that failure is truly just a small fragment of life, and it can eventually serve to be a form of motivation for you to power through life’s challenges.

Remember, even if it’s a small positive reinforcement, it’s still a win.

Failure is inevitable, but how we cope with it is entirely on us. We hope that you’ll find these tips helpful in building up your resilience over time, because only then will you be able to view life through a more empathetic lens, allowing you to see that failure can be used as a means to achieve a more fulfilling life. Don’t give up!

This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. All information provided is for informational purposes only.

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