3 Steps to Deal With Failure

In life, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

As a student, when your end-of-year results are released and the reality of your mediocre grades is hugely disproportionate with your high expectations, you can’t help but feel like you have lost. There are two extremes you could jump to in this moment or when dealing with any type of failure:

a. Instantaneously brushing it off: ‘lol alg man’

b. Crying a tsunami: ‘this has literally ruined my existence’

I suggest doing neither because it’s unhealthy: you’re not really dealing with the problem.

If it really was ‘lol alg man’ why did your instinctual feelings say differently? Are you sure you’re not delaying the inevitable emotional outburst and stunting your personal growth for the moment being? On the flip side, is over dramatising the issue really going to get you anywhere except into spirals of unhappy thoughts that are blown way out of proportion to the issue at hand?

Rather than trying to escape from your feelings or sinking into the abyss of pain, this is the time to think systematically and logically because of the emotional state you’re already in.

From recent personal experience, I present my 3 steps to recovering and improving from failure. Like all self-help articles, the steps are totally obvious but incredibly difficult to follow in practise. If you are dealing with failure, I challenge you to give it a try no matter how much you would rather numb yourself to forget or intensify the feelings to justify responding irrationality.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill


1. Put the situation into perspective

How much does this actually mean to me? Will it affect me for my entire life? (Hint: the answer is probably no)

Perspective: My horrible results will have a significant impact on the top universities I am aiming for however my results from 2015, extracurriculars and SATs will also help determine my fate so all is not lost. Ultimately even if I do my undergraduate study at a school that isn’t my first choice, I can still succeed at life because I am confident in my ability to make things work.

2. Assess why you failed

Was it my fault? How?

Assessment: My work ethic let me down. I did not put in enough hours leading up to the exams. Initially I thought I already put sufficient effort in but my friends who are more studious than me achieved much better results so I can’t blame anyone else but myself & bad luck too I guess, to some extent.

3. Consider your next step/counter-attack

What am I going to do now? Can I make something good out of this bad situation?

Counter-attack: I will post a blog post, go watch Empire  & try much harder in 2015 both for my SATs in 10 days and throughout the year academically and otherwise. Every time I feel like things aren’t working, I’ll refer back to this article and set myself a new goal to help get back on track.


“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” ― Marilyn Munroe

Good luck to all.

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