A person who has never failed is a person who has never tried anything great. The only time that failure should be viewed as something contemptible is when it’s the result of negligence. The only time failure is final is when you decide to stop trying. When you finally win, every failure that came before is merely a learning experience.
Immediately after you fail, you’re going to feel awful. You’re going to feel like a worthless failure. You’re going to want to curl up and hide from the embarrassment and shame that you feel is coming at you.
This is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
When life knocks you down and starts kicking you, if you just curl up and take it, then the only way the pain stops is if life gets tired of kicking and moves on or if you pass out.
Don't just take the beating. Get up. When I say “get up”, I mean it both figuratively and literally. Get up out of your chair or out of bed and go do something physical. Go for a walk. Go do some pushups. Go do something. The simple act of going and doing something that you choose to do is a victory. It’s the first small step in dealing with failure.
Dust Yourself Off
Saying “dust yourself off” is meant to be a poetical way of communicating that you need to repair anything that is broken. This can be things, relationships, or even your physical, mental, or emotional health. Failure can manifest itself in a multitude of ways. Before you can move forward with another attempt, you need to repair any damage from your previous failure.
This is probably the most difficult part of dealing with failure. You have to take stock of the damage caused by the failure and come up with a plan to make it right. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to repair some things. Relationships can be damaged beyond repair and even if they can be repaired, they still require the commitment of two people. Your commitment alone isn’t enough.
Mental and emotional harm are also very difficult to repair. The scars left by mental and emotional harm aren’t visible like those from physical harm and so are much more difficult to identify and treat. That said, seeking help in treating mental and emotional wounds is just as important as getting a wound stitched or getting a cast on a broken bone. Not getting help for mental and emotional wounds is a failure and is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
Learn and Adapt
People like to say that insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. While it’s cute and funny, I think it fails to consider the effect of erosion. Trying the same thing again and again is going to cause an erosion in both you and your opponent. This gradual wearing down or attrition will eventually produce a different result.
While attrition is a simple strategy that may work in the end, it requires that you be willing to endure more pain and suffering than your opponent. Sometimes the will to endure is all you’ve got left in you. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not the best thing.
A much more effective approach is to learn from your failure and adapt your technique. Study the events that occurred during your previous attempt. Pay attention to the various actions and responses from both sides and think up different actions to take and responses to make. These are the adaptations you’ll make next time.
You’re back on your feet. You’ve repaired what was broken. You’ve studied and made changes to your plan. Now it’s time to put it into action.
Try again and again and again.