There is a fine line between a setback and failure. A setback is often seen as a temporary roadblock, a period where you can strategize about what to do next. When it comes to failure, I think many of us have heard that it is a ‘stepping stone to success.’ Keeping that in mind, when you focus on overcoming your failures and reaching beyond them, you might look back on them and see them as setbacks that just put you off your game for a while. Consider this, if a student is late to submit an assignment but keeps working on it and submits it as soon as possible, despite the delay, it can be considered a setback that they worked to overcome. But, if they would have given up and hoped for ‘better luck next time,’ it would be considered a failure.
Nevertheless, both setbacks and failures, if considered constructively, can be essential parts of future successes.
Here are four ways to turn a setback into an instrument of success:
1. Be resilient:
Resilience means coping with the stress and disappointment of a setback, and working to overcome it. Viewing a setback as an opportunity to try again and resolving to learn from your experience, can help you come back stronger and teach you new skills that can help you succeed in the future.
2. Develop a growth mindset:
Being resilient involves having a growth-oriented mindset. Embracing challenges and criticism, consistently putting in the effort to build on your abilities, and finding inspiration to keep going, are all qualities of a growth mindset - which can help you beat setbacks and guide you on your journey to success.
3. Accept and acknowledge your setbacks:
It is important to make peace with your setback. Hammering yourself for something that is already out of your hands will only further dampen your will to overcome it. Accepting that you are experiencing a setback, acknowledging your role in it, and considering it as a learning experience, will make it easier to focus on what comes next.
4. Use it as motivational fuel to learn and grow:
We are aware of how stress can be negative as well as positive. Well, the same goes for setbacks. Rather than ruminating on the negative aspects of the setback, try to use it as a motivation to work harder. Second chances don’t come easily. Setbacks are just temporary obstructions. Whether the setback was out of your hands or caused by you, feeling sorry for yourself is not going to help. Take some time to process your feelings, then apply that growth mindset and try to change your perspective and move forward.
Eventually, when you look back, you are going to realize the purpose of all of the setbacks that you faced and how they helped you grow as an individual.
How are you going to turn your setback into a stepping stone to success?