How Can You Use Defeats And Setbacks As Fuel To Drive You
Towards Your Dreams With Even More Determination?
How can we shift this automatic negative response to failures and setbacks?
It’s very easy to take a setback at face value and conclude we’re not good enough to get what we wanted. However, in order to live a life where you have the confidence to pursue what matters most to you, you must change the way you see setbacks and failure.
Below you’ll find four simple, yet powerful strategies to help you turn despair into determination.
1. Defeat Is Necessary
As much as we try to avoid defeat or failure, pursuing anything of significance – a relationship, health, your dream job, inner peace – will require many failures to get there. Then, even once you’ve attained the thing you want, sustaining it will require even more setbacks.
The key here is to change the way we see setbacks. Instead of being evidence of personal inadequacy, we can see them as the challenges life gives us to sculpt us into the people we’re meant to be. Each one of these experiences is strengthening our character, building our ability to tolerate pain and discomfort, and ultimately preparing us to be ready to get what it is we seek to attain.
The question is not whether you will experience setbacks, but when you inevitably do, what do you do with them?
2. Defeat Is Temporary
When we experience a setback it’s so easy to go into deflation and discouragement, concluding there’s no way we’ll ever achieve what we desire. Our mind can see this particular defeat as a never-ending string of perpetual failures we’ll experience for the rest of our lives. As exaggerated as this idea is, it can be a very compelling trance we can fall into after experiencing a setback.
It’s essential in these times we regularly remind ourselves all defeat is temporary. Will I continue to experience and feel this two weeks from now? How about two months from now?
Reminding yourself of past defeats that were temporary can help you regain perspective on the impermanence of any failure or success.
3. Embody Determination
In order to break out of the Default Response to setback, we must train ourselves to do something completely different. This includes changing the way we’re holding our bodies and shifting the focus of our minds.
When we’re deflated and discouraged, our heads tend to be down, our brows furrowed, and our breathing shallow. Our minds are focused on what we did wrong, or questioning why this happened to us.
It’s absolutely essential to radically change the position of your body, stepping into a more empowered and fully upright stance and taking deeper breaths into your belly.
Something as simple as holding your head up higher, pushing your chest our slightly, and putting a look or pride or determination or face can have a powerful effect.
In addition, you can guide the focus of your mind through asking a better question than, “Why does this always happen to me?” Instead, you can ask yourself:
- “How can I use this setback to give me even more determination?”
- “How is this experience teaching me and making me even stronger and better?”
- “How is this experience for my best benefit?”
These questions guide your focus towards more resourceful responses to the situation.
You can watch a video here to learn more about how to generate emotional states, such as courage and determination.
4. Take Action
The final step in turning failure into unlimited determination is to do the opposite of what the deflated, shameful feelings tell you to do. Most often in response to setback, we feel an urge to give up, to conclude we don’t have what it takes because we’re not good enough.
The best way to respond to this pattern is to shift your state by embodying determination and then taking immediate action.
This doesn’t have to be a big or grand step – all you have to do is take one small action that’s proactively moving you forward.
This is a gesture and a message to your subconscious that you can, and will, continue to move forward, even when you’re feeling discouraged. Once you have taken action, you might find the sense of discouragement and shame starts to lift like a storm and the thoughts of perpetual failure vanish like a bad dream.