Dealing with Failure

We’ve all been there.

We’ve all set a goal, put our heart and soul into achieving it and guess what... it’s over. It doesn’t work out for you. 

"But Why?? I tried my best...but I still failed."


Before you spend the next year moping or even worse finger pointing, let’s fully evaluate the situation.


1.     What was within your control?

After a goal doesn’t work out in your favor it’s important to retrace your steps to evaluate your preparation and execution.


Did you start studying early enough and fully understand the information?

Did you reach out for help as soon as you needed it?

If you were training for a competition did you train efficiently everyday or did you skip some practices?


            Once the big moment arrived how did you handle the situation?

 Did you give it 100% or succumb to the pressure?

 Was this attempt an improvement from your last attempt?

You have to be honest with yourself to improve in the future. While this is the most difficult part because the wound may still be fresh, moving on without reviewing your previous mistakes can only lead to more failure in the future.

We all know someone who is ALWAYS blaming someone else for their failures. My parents didn’t prepare me well enough. My teacher is definitely against me. My coach let me down. That referee screwed me. Don’t, I repeat, don’t be that person!

That person will never grow. As much as failure hurts, it’s an opportunity to see what happens when you put 100% into something. You are capable of taking a lesson away from the situation that will make you into a better person, student, employee, athlete, etc. However, if you don’t take accountability for your mistakes stagnation is inevitable.


2. What was out of your control?

If you could repeat the situation (without knowing the outcome) would you have done everything the exact same?


Ask yourself this question and if the answer is yes you have to walk away from the situation knowing you did the very best you could. Without hindsight bias, if you given the same opportunity and would have made the exact same decisions then there’s nothing to be mad about! Obviously, it doesn’t remove the sting, but at least it provides comfort you did everything within your power.

Unfortunately, as hard as you work and as much as you prepare, sometimes there are unforeseen obstacles. There have been numerous accounts of students sitting for their MCAT exam when the power goes out in the testing center. How are you supposed to get a perfect score after that? You aren’t! But there was absolutely nothing you could do to prevent that, so you have to let it go. All you can do is refocus to the best of your ability and finish the exam.

If it’s out of your control, take some notes from Elsa and let it gooooo, let it goooooo or else you will drive yourself insane reliving the situation.


3.     How will you change the situation for the next time?

Now you know the outcome. Now you know what went wrong and improvements that need to be made. If you walk away from a situation that didn’t work in your favor and you don’t plan on changing that’s literally the definition of insanity. As scary as it may be, especially because failure has already happened (and could happen again), you have to muster up the confidence to know with the proper changes success is within reach.

A setback is just an opportunity for a comeback so keep your head up and keep grinding!