The Bigger The Goal, The Greater The Setbacks
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
The scale of your setbacks matters little in the end, as long as you are taking action towards your goals. How does this idea appeal to you? Are you willing to endure failure and defeat to achieve your goals? Your answer will reveal what you’re willing to accept to accomplish them. If our goals are imbued with a strong purpose, setbacks mustn’t be seen as detrimental to our success, but part of the process. Our capacity to handle setbacks means we will either interpret it as a defeat or a learning point to achieve our goals. The degree to which we tolerate setbacks is proportionate to our willingness to overcome them and take action to achieve our outcomes.
Think about your current goals. Have you experienced setbacks in recent times? How did you overcome them? Setbacks can teach us a lot about ourselves because they reveal our character strengths and renew our commitment to our goals. We become more efficient pursuing actions aligned with our highest intent, instead of wasting time on insignificant tasks. Setbacks help us develop determination to embark upon our goals. It’s no surprise, the bigger the goal the greater the setbacks. This is attributed to the learning curve and processes required to achieve anything of value. We mustn’t obsess over our defeats, but learn the lessons embedded in the experiences. This is the message espoused by Dr. Alex Lickerman who writes in The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self: “Even when we can’t find a smile to save us, even when we’re tired beyond all endurance, possessing an undefeated mind means never forgetting that defeat comes not from failing but from giving up. An undefeated mind doesn’t fill itself with false hope, but with hopes to find real solutions, even solutions it may not want or like.”
Don’t Wish It Was Easier, Wish You Were Better
“How many people are completely successful in every department of life? Not one. The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.” — Zig Ziglar
I don’t know about you, but I’ve encountered countless setbacks over the years, personally and professionally. It affected me, since I associated defeat with my self-esteem. Nevertheless, after countless setbacks, I stopped caring about losing and focused on learning. I developed a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset, as the Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck teaches in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Have you experienced this before, where you hit rock bottom and stop caring about failing? During this time, I noticed a shift in consciousness and saw positive results in my life. I realised my setbacks were not indicative of my character, but part of the process to achieve my goals. I must state I didn’t stop caring about my goals or the outcome, in fact I cared more than before. However, my failures and setbacks allowed me to develop an insatiable hunger towards my goals and therefore work proficiently to achieve them.
Can you associate with the growth that comes from setbacks? Conversely, how do you deal with defeat? Does it affect your self-esteem or give you more hunger to go after your goals? What we experience in the face of our setbacks, determines how we assault our goals and highest ambitions. Setbacks can be hidden blessings, since they develop our strengths and expose our weaknesses. This helps us to sharpen the saw of our resiliency, for it was the American motivational speaker Jim Rohn who once said: “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills to overcome them. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” He was making the case that wishing away our problems does little to help us overcome them. We mustn’t retreat from our difficulties but grow in confidence to conquer them each time. Therefore, our willingness to embrace setbacks is equal to our capacity to endure defeat. It is said, we fail our way to success. This is the premise of what the former Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill meant when he said: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” He knew setbacks were part of life and we mustn’t let them affect our motivation and enthusiasm, but use them to fuel our efforts.
Are you getting a sense that your setbacks can be used to your advantage, instead of seeing them through the eyes of defeat? There is nothing to lose as long as you remain resolute towards your goals. Every action yields an outcome and our success is built upon the actions that follow. If we give up because of failure or a loss of enthusiasm, we miss the opportunity to build on our earlier efforts. Think of links in a chain, where each one depends on the other to hold it together. As long as we keep moving towards our goals, we are bound to reach them or grow significantly as a result, even if we miss the mark. Giving up awards us nothing other than regret and frustration, which is relieved by being unconcerned with defeat. So I ask you: what are you putting off now that demands your attention? How can you take an existing goal or project and inject them with enthusiasm and a new mindset? After all, the measure of your setbacks will be insignificant if you’re willing to endure the tale of defeat.