We all face setbacks at times. It’s a natural part of life, and you’d have to be very lucky to succeed in everything you try every single time.
What sets resilient people apart from others is how they react to setbacks.
When we’re under stress, it’s easy to accept our fate and believe that we have no influence over events.
However, in many cases this is simply not true!
The way to overcome setbacks and failures is to see them as temporary.
Although the initial feelings after a setback are a sense of helplessness and wanting to give up, the way to overcome this is to simply keep trying and build resilience.
If you learn a little from each attempt, eventually you are going to get it right and success will come.
What we need in order to summon the will to try again is optimism.
It is possible to learn optimism.
So what’s the secret behind becoming more optimistic? Psychologist Martin Seligman has this five-stage plan:
Adversity – Acknowledge the situation that triggered the feelings of helplessness in you. Don’t be tempted to bury your head in the sand.
Beliefs – This stage of the process involves exploring your beliefs – both positive and negative.
Consequences – Analyse what the consequences of these beliefs might be. If your belief is “I can’t cope with this, it’s just too difficult”, it is likely that the result will indeed be a failure to cope.
Disputation– Challenge negative beliefs by finding evidence to dispute them, and then generating alternatives. What can you do differently?
Energisation– This is all about noticing what happens to your energy levels as you dispel and deal with any negative beliefs. When you make the changes, you can look forward to a better outcome.
The result of an initial setback doesn’t need to be the end of the story. A lot of the time, we have the ability to change it.
To learn more about how to build optimism and resilience, we recommend our Developing Resilience eLearning course.