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7 Smart Ways Successful People Respond to Failure

sad man looking out window

For some people, failure serves as a permanent roadblock that stands in between them and success. For the mentally strong, however, this serves as an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become better.

Whether they get passed up for a promotion or their side hustle costs more money than it earns, mentally strong people don’t let failure define them.

Here’s how they turn the biggest setbacks into their best comebacks:

1. They Keep Failure in Proper Perspective

Mentally strong people don’t run around predicting the sky is falling just because things don’t go as planned. Instead, they keep setbacks in proper perspective. They intentionally regulate their thoughts and manage their emotions so they can continue to behave productively, despite whatever hardships they face.

2. They Practice Self-Compassion

Rather than beat themselves up for not getting it right the first time, mentally strong people maintain a productive inner dialogue. They talk to themselves the same way they’d speak to a trusted friend—by using kind and supportive words of encouragement.

3. They Choose to Be Grateful

Rather than get upset that their first attempt didn’t work, mentally strong people choose to be grateful they had the opportunity to try. Their willingness to look for the silver lining keeps their mood positive as they commit to moving forward.

4. They Respect Their Vulnerabilities

Mentally strong people use failure as an opportunity to spot their weaknesses. Rather than dispute their shortcomings or hide their mistakes, they seek to be authentic. Their humble, self-aware approach assists them in developing strategies to become better.

5. They Acknowledge Their Strengths

Setbacks give mentally strong people chances to evaluate their strengths—but they acknowledge their positive attributes without arrogance. They don’t need to brag to others about their characteristics or achievements. Instead, they’re able to simply recognize what they do well so they can build upon their existing strengths.

6. They Create a Plan to Become Better

Mentally strong people view failure as part of the long road to success. They turn each setback into an opportunity to gather more information. Armed with more knowledge, they create a plan to try again.

7. They Maintain a Healthy Self-Worth

A mentally strong person’s self-worth is contingent upon who he is, not what he does. As long as they behave according to their values, they feel good about themselves, regardless of their personal or professional failures. Their confidence helps them find the courage to get back up each time they fall.

Building mental strength is very similar to building physical strength. You can perform exercises and develop healthy habits—as well as give up your unproductive habits—to build up mental muscle every day. The stronger you grow, the more likely you’ll be to turn your next setback into a successful learning experience.

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