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Monday, July 18, 2016

Mailvox: dealing with failure

CA writes about the challenge of responding to repeated failure:
I find your blogs very informative. Your books, TIA and Cuckservatives, were very enjoyable reads.

Some of your postings about failure are interesting but I am not sure that it is always possible to adopt a logical position and carry one's emotions along.

I failed in three jobs in succession (one of which I was sacked from) in 2011-12. The night of my sacking, I immediately started looking for new work (I'd lacked this resolve after the second job ended badly). I had to claw my way back through unpaid internships. I would like to feel that this was character building. In reality, I'm stuck trying to impose a logical position (What could I have done better?, What did I learn?) onto an emotional one (this is so unfair, why did these things happen to me?)

I'm haunted by the fact that I have failed more than those around me. It is really painful.
Failure can be painful, but it doesn't have to be. I not only have multiple failures, but I experience failure so regularly that most of you have no idea that they have even happened.

Within the last year alone, one of the three startups I supported went under, one nearly went under, and the third has had to radically change its business model because events haven't gone according to plan.

Now, for some people, that amount of failure in quick succession would be very painful emotionally. And I'm not going to pretend that I was completely unperturbed, especially because as recently as one year ago, the failed business was doing very well and was even in the process of growing. But the reason I'm not upset about these things is that they were only three of the projects in which I was involved, and since I was not responsible for any of them there was next-to-nothing I could do about it.

I truly don't even think about them much. Things are what they are, and trying to fix those projects would only harm the other ones that are going rather better. Never reinforce failure.

But rather than trying to impose logic on his emotions, which is always bound to fail sooner or later, I think the correct thing for CA to do is this:
  1. Accept the emotions. Go ahead and be upset. Go for drinks with one of your friends, bitch about the situation, and get it out of your system. Then stop thinking about it, stop dwelling on it, and above all, STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. Nobody cares, not really. It didn't happen to them, after all, and they don't want to think about it happening to them.
  2. Don't waste time trying to analyze and learn from the situation now. It's too close in time. It's too raw. The time to analyze it is when you're already starting to get back on your feet.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Their situations are different. Their talents and abilities are different. Their connections are different. Their roll of the dice is different. This doesn't denigrate their success, it merely puts it in perspective.
Never be haunted by the success of others. Instead, try to learn from them, try to be useful to them, and try to become the sort of connection for them that can be useful to both of you. You can learn from anyone; if I can usefully learn from someone I despise as much as John Scalzi, (and I have) then you can certainly learn from those for whom you merely feel envy.

Don't be afraid of failure or weighed down by it. Develop cornerback's memory. Just because you got burned once doesn't mean you're going to get burned the next time. It's a new play. It's a new game. And constantly replaying the previous one in your head is only going to reduce your chances of success next time.

I don't care if you've been knocked down once, three times, or two hundred times. The answer is always the same. Get back up and get back in the fight.

UPDATE: Someone pointed out in the comments that having only one income stream makes risk-taking all but impossible and failure all the more devastating. That's correct. And that is why you should always devote at least 10 percent of your productive time to secondary and tertiary potential income streams.

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59 Comments:

Blogger Raggededge July 18, 2016 8:43 AM  

I think of the golfer Phil Mickelson, this guy has failed so many times he should be in the loony bin. Except, he has 5 major titles to his name. It takes an approach like VD describes above to overcome failure and rise to success. You can't wallow in pity and expect the outcome to magically become different.

Blogger Leo Little Book in Shenzhen July 18, 2016 8:50 AM  

Some advice that sounds similar.

Blogger Guitar Man July 18, 2016 8:53 AM  

Good post, Vox. Young parents should start teaching their children that failure is OK. It happens. And usually you'll learn more from failure than you will from success.

Anonymous JamesV July 18, 2016 9:04 AM  

I like this advice feel it could help me out tremendously but I don't know how to apply it. While I haven't failed currently I know that is what I need to be willing to do to advance my career. The problem is that I have one primary source of income and if that fails my family will be sunk. Not something I can easily risk right now.

I suppose one option is to look for side opportunities that I can take a risk on that don't impact my primary source of income and begin to work my way away from being reliant on one income source.

Blogger Josh July 18, 2016 9:05 AM  

Never be haunted by the success of others. Instead, try to learn from them, try to be useful to them, and try to become the sort of connection for them that can be useful to both of you.

This is awesome advice. Envy is poison.

Blogger Servant of the Chief July 18, 2016 9:09 AM  

Not going to lie, failure can utterly break you if you let it, I let it this year and I've been regretting it this entire time.

All sympathy where its due, multiple failures in succession hurts, hard, and sometimes it can honest to God seem like such utter and complete bullshit to be told to just 'chin up' and try again, especially with the economy and world as it is, 'chin up' usually equates to 'eat shit, enjoy another round of unpaid internships and a roundabout ladder to nowhere fucko' in real terms for pretty much everyone.

But oh my God get back on the fucking horse as fast as you can or you never will. Lost my job in January, my first real gainful employment after nearly four years of trying to justify my tertiary level education and losing it hurt, bad. I let it in, it broke me and kept breaking me and piling on every other piece of shit and hidden bugaboo in my psychology until it is almost physically painful. I'd rather not dwell on it, the past six months was not a fun experience and it actually felt somewhat surreal and alien once I seriously began trying to get back on the horse. Nothing builds up your psychic armour like having some degree of purpose, even if its the false purpose given by even the shittiest of pen-pushing jobs, I didn't realise how badly I needed it until I lost it.

There's lots of ways to cope with failure, but for the love of God, do not dwell on it.

Blogger Markku July 18, 2016 9:10 AM  

There is no chance that on your deathbed you'll think "if only I had quit more, and felt sorry for myself more".

Blogger Josh July 18, 2016 9:14 AM  

Failure sucks. It hurts. Inertia is real: if you are stuck, you will stay stuck. If you are moving, you will keep moving. So start moving--do something.

Blogger Markku July 18, 2016 9:21 AM  

On the other hand, it's always possible that you shouldn't be doing the line of work that you're doing, not knowing what it is. Perhaps it's something that is not sustainable in this financial situation we are in now. Perhaps it was a field for a boom, when people had excess money to spend. Or, perhaps you just don't have the natural talent for it. All these things should be on the table if there is evidence for them. But just outright quitting doing ANYTHING useful is not on the table. Just the option to change your field.

Blogger Stillwater Forestry LLC July 18, 2016 9:21 AM  

Awesome advice ! Having experienced enormous amounts of failure in business and work - along with its twin sister - poverty, I can testify that the only way to come out of it is to have steel like resolve to never give up -ever !
The biggest benefit that comes from repeated failures is the level of character and toughness that it builds. It truly separates the weak from the strong.

Blogger Markku July 18, 2016 9:23 AM  

On the other hand, it's always possible that you shouldn't be doing the line of work that you're doing, not knowing what it is. Perhaps it's something that is not sustainable in this financial situation we are in now. Perhaps it was a field for a boom, when people had excess money to spend. Or, perhaps you just don't have the natural talent for it. All these things should be on the table if there is evidence for them. But just outright quitting doing ANYTHING useful is not on the table. Just the option to change your field.

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 18, 2016 9:40 AM  

JamesV, you aren't thinking abundantly enough. "Lose my one source and my family is sunk" is not only a limited mundset, it is false.

Instead, "While I have one source of income is a good time to try out a few other revenue opportunities that don't have to work out," or "This gives me the chance to help my family members ways to contribute to in small ways to the household's financial health."

It doesn't change your situation...it preps you for the next situation.

Blogger The Other Robot July 18, 2016 9:42 AM  

It's a new play. It's a new game. And constantly replaying the previous one in your head is only going to reduce your chances of success next time.

And constantly replaying the failed play in real life is probably a mistake. We are lacking in detail, but maybe a different line of work is needed. Maybe you haven't found your niche yet.

Blogger Sir Wulf July 18, 2016 9:43 AM  

A couple of points for CA to consider:

1. If you aren't failing regularly, you aren't pushing yourself hard enough to grow. If you set the bar low enough, you'll never fail, but what's the point of that?

2. We all make choices about our priorities in life. My father had a brilliant career, which cost him his marriage. I know other folks whose quest for personal or romantic satisfaction led them to fail to be there for their children. We all fail at some aspects of life, but some people hide it much better than others.

Anonymous Fed Up Aussie July 18, 2016 9:46 AM  

I was fired today. In terms of success, achievements and life milestones I am far behind my family and friends. Reading this helped and it also helped me remind of somethint I realised last time I was unemployed but forget: Working for myself is the only tolerable future.

I was at the point of wanting to quit anyway but was hoping to save up more money before I did. I was fired for not wanting a leadership a role but after seeing the amount of stress my own superior was under I decided it was not worth it.

Tomorrow I already have some jobs to call. My biggest regret is that I did not fail this job faster. Growing to hate your job affects you outside of work too much.

Blogger Thomas Davidsmeier July 18, 2016 9:47 AM  

Cornerback Memory -

You don't go back and watch the tape until a day or two after the game, but you do go back and watch the tape. Don't let your emotions cause you to ignore lessons that you could be learning from the failure. Those lessons might be quick fixes or they might be long term changes you need to implement.

@9 @11

I switched careers because I realized that the one I was in was entering a contraction phase. I had a new baby at home at the time, so it was extremely trying, but it has worked out well in the long run.

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame has some really great career advice. He says that "Follow your passion" is the worst advice you can give somebody, and instead they should "Follow opportunity." Look around and see if you can find an occupation that is needed by others that you could be good at and try it. One of his examples of this is a guy that makes six figures annually running a company that pumps out septic systems. The guy says he saw the opportunity and started working at it, and then he became passionate about pumping other people's poo because he saw how valuable it was or something like that.

Anonymous glenintenn July 18, 2016 9:48 AM  

>>Learning from Scalzi<<

hopefully only in the negative (what NOT to do) ... not Being John Scalzi or something... ;)

Blogger Josh July 18, 2016 9:53 AM  


hopefully only in the negative (what NOT to do) ... not Being John Scalzi or something... ;)


Scalzi is very good at self promotion and networking, and he used to be good at spotting trend.

Blogger Phillip George July 18, 2016 9:54 AM  

No pockets in a shroud
Steve Jobs and Howard Hughes and Bruce Ismay. Lance Armstrong survived them all. Viva La France. Viva Le Tour.
Viva Honest Maria Sharapova coming runner up to someone with x-y chromosomes. Je Suis tomorrows victims who shouldn't be the cause of backlash xenophobic hate speech bloggery raysiss hysteria. sorry, what was the topic

Blogger natschuster July 18, 2016 9:55 AM  

Some people sat that G-d is sending you a message when you fail that you are not fulfilling your purpose in life. He is sending you a course correction. Or G-d is testing you this way. He wants to see if you will maintains your integrity and faith. Other people are tested by success. Their challenge is to see if the retain humility and generosity. I suggest, that in addition to practical measures, you should pray.

Anonymous Jill July 18, 2016 9:57 AM  

I absolutely agree with the update at the end. Multiple income streams has been key to me not completely panicking and giving into failure right now.

Blogger VD July 18, 2016 9:57 AM  

hopefully only in the negative (what NOT to do) ... not Being John Scalzi or something... ;)

Not at all. Scalzi is one of the best self-promoters out there. He's so good at selling himself that he's gotten himself in over his head and put himself in a position where he is almost guaranteed to fail.

I learned the importance of self-promotion from him, although obviously I don't do it in the same exaggerated, relentlessly dishonest way that he does. I also learned how one could use one's blog as a central engine for one's tangential activities. You can learn SOMETHING from anyone who is successful, and although Scalzi is a failure in life and as a man, he is an astonishingly successful SF writer given his mediocre gifts.

Blogger szopen July 18, 2016 9:58 AM  

to be defeated, but not to yield - that's a victory.
to win, but to rest on one's laures - that's a defeat


(and another one, less relevant, but one of my favourites)
you cannot break the wall with your head, but if everything else fails, you have to also try also this method
--- Józef Piłsudski

Anonymous BrerFox July 18, 2016 9:58 AM  

I went through a very similar patch in the 2009-2011 timeframe. I wish I had come across advice like Vox and the commenters are giving years ago. It took me a long time to come to those same conclusions, but I think that's part of the maturation process as well. This is an area where the is no panacea, and a lot of fundamental, cliche advice- keep trying, get back on the horse- is exactly what you need to do.

Blogger Josh July 18, 2016 10:02 AM  

You can learn SOMETHING from anyone who is successful, and although Scalzi is a failure in life and as a man, he is an astonishingly successful SF writer given his mediocre gifts.

Do you think being content with what you have and what you've done is important? Scalzi isn't content, even though he should be in the top 5-10% of income and he has a nice house in a safe town, etc. He should be much happier than he is. Is that because of imposter syndrome?

Blogger Derek Kite July 18, 2016 10:05 AM  

I'm in business for myself, and the reality is that I don't know what I'm doing the week after next. I have committed work for a short time, but after that I really don't know. But it has been going on for 20 years.

Obviously the paid labor market has changed dramatically, but not really. I remember maintaining half a dozen opportunities at all times. Oddly I think it opened doors for me because people employing me, who were facing the very same real difficulty of knowing didn't have to worry if they hired me and things dried up. We could part ways without anyone going hungry.

So a few suggestions. Don't undervalue yourself. Unpaid internship is free labor. If you work very hard to convince others that you are not worth anything, it is very easy for everyone including yourself to believe it.

Fix in mind your purpose. Mine was to make a living. I needed money to meet the needs of the family. Success meant that we had money to do what was needed. So maybe in fact you are succeeding in a tough environment.

Get into the bid spec mindset. I don't do this, but I have good friends who get specifications for jobs, spend hours preparing a bid, presenting it and losing 90% of the time. The 10% they win meets the needs of feeding the family.

If the way your industry works is unpaid labor is the rule, really think hard whether any paid labor can provide value and how. If you get into a paid position you may simply be a placeholder until the next eager person willing to work for nothing shows up.

It sucks, it isn't fair, blah blah blah. Neither were the Russian pogroms, the chinese labor that built much of the west coast infrastructure, how the Kurds have to live, etc. There is something to learn from ethnic groups who always seem to be persecuted but manage to do very well in the end. There are also lots of individual examples as well.

That being said, good luck. It sucks. I know how much it sucks. I suspect that knowing has made me work very hard never to be in that situation again.

Blogger Galahad78 July 18, 2016 10:09 AM  

Very interesting post, thanks VD.

Blogger LP9 Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra July 18, 2016 10:41 AM  

Both failure and success are often random but can serve as catalysts into something better or sometimes not. Either way, the Lord can the bread we cast upon the sea and makes wonderous use with such, we dont know it or expect or can predict outcomes.

After processing the failure it is best to stop emoting over it, one has complained, lamented, hurt, talked about it now its ok to close that chapter and revert to the current deadlines and projects.

When family failures/hurts arrive its a henhouse of sorts but coast through it, do or say what can be said with whatever information available and exit that from one's mind, its for the best.

No matter the age, career related upsets like firings or dismissals are not easy and just hang in there.

Our ballet spaces were changed up several times since 2014 and we just adjust to new surroundings. It is annoyingly unfair and often caused not by rent or anything but some baby boomer with property throws thin privilege at us as if we are skinny. So its a failure to shrink in group size because locales in relation to schedules are not working to our advantage.

This post along with the response or reaction to the horrendous emo, low T, DysMensa speech along with the post regarding IQ in relation to societal matters all reached me for the better. With my work I don't like to blurt out me streams of consciousness too often.

OT: This summer of problems regarding the BLM and badge...Does any of these latest event appear like a convergence of the NOI, BLM, SJW, stupid pple rage, Omega rage (not alphas, drudge report is projecting the latest Baton Rouge out of towner was a alpha, no, but another 20 something. Oh Well, could be wrong.

Blogger David The Good July 18, 2016 10:42 AM  

Great post.

I've also found that you'll succeed a lot more if you quit lying to yourself about "being busy", quit procrastinating, and work your tail off at being productive. Drink coffee. Avoid distractions. Read business books. Work your tail off some more. And - never miss the chance to learn from others, as Vox states. Also don't be afraid of getting in contact with successful people in your field. Seek them out on purpose, ask if you can be a part of what they're doing. Write a great review of their book and email it to them. And work your tail off even more.

Blogger Rantor July 18, 2016 10:45 AM  

CA, you have already taken the first and most important step: you recognized your failure and are dealing with it as such. As an Air Force officer, I taught my people to admit their failures, learn from them and move on. I was often surprised by how many people thought I was harsh when I said they failed at something. They weren't used to honesty. And yes when I failed I admitted it, verbally and to those within earshot. Of course we feel bad when we fail, but admitting it, correcting it, and moving on is critical.

Anonymous Lives of quiet desperation July 18, 2016 10:46 AM  

Speaking of failure, I could write the book on the subject.

My life from the time I was getting out of school was one abject denial after another. With some education and little practical experience I went into several job interviews where the interviewer flat out said that I didn't have a chance without experience. That was in my twenties and now I'm getting ready to head over the half century mark. In that time I've had a disabled son that has caused my wife moderate depression and have been through numerous jobs due to layoffs and closings, etc..

But through all the hardship I've been able to see my Heavenly Father working in my life the whole time. I interviewed for a job in Nov last year and was called just last week telling me that I had it. Yes, I had given up on that one too, but God is good and he rewards patience and due diligence. My family needs the benefits that this one will provide.

The Lord is faithful.

Blogger David The Good July 18, 2016 10:48 AM  

@Fed Up Aussie "I was fired today."

Congratulations - you're taking it well.

A very successful friend told me to make a huge list of everybody I might possibly want to have as clients, then get their numbers, then call them all. Call them again a few weeks later, and a month later, and another month later. This "creates luck," he told me, and his business proved it. Be nice, conversational, ask what's new in their world, tell them you're ready to work for them whenever they're ready - and ask them to suggest other people you can call. Don't let them off the phone until you get another name, if possible. You'll soon have more work than you know what to do with.

Anonymous Sam the Man July 18, 2016 10:49 AM  

Went through a rough patch myself 2 Plus decades ago, was let go and more or less black-balled because I pissed off the owner of a start up I was in.

End result was I had to start over, go back to school and do a bunch of stuff to get around that. Within three years I was back up again, extra degree and making more money. When the start up sold (the one that black balled me) I ended up with a lot of cash out of the stock I had received. Looking back that rough patch was really the father of my eventual success.

The key is to, even in the black time keep moving and looking, work to develop your skills.

By the Bye when fired/laid off/asked to go it is a great time to consider life goals. Are you happy where you live? If you had 5 years to live what would your goals be, or said another way, what things are on your list of things you want to achieve?

I also think that a rough patch when young (I went through 3 actually at age 21, 27 and 31) is a character building exercise(s) Sucks when you go though it but it helps you when you get old. part of my prayers of Thanks are for my good times and the bad. As an older fart now I am prepared to be let go at any time and have a plan in place. It is constantly evolving as life changes. I have noticed that late middle aged guys who have never known the hard times find the inevitable day when they are obsolete and let go much more difficult to take than guys who have been there before. It happens to us all, someday our skill set and the times requirements have parted.

Of course that is not all that helpful when you are in the midst of the suck. Just do not give up, get back up and keep trying. Improve your skills and mindset. You will eventually succeed in some way, though the way you succeed may be very different looking back, compared to how you though you were going to succeed.

P.S. If you gave more specifics on your situation, you might find someone here could help with advise, contacts have a lot to do with opportunities these days. There are a lot of fairly high achievers on this site.

Blogger kurt9 July 18, 2016 10:57 AM  

You have to roll with the punches.

Blogger dienw July 18, 2016 11:03 AM  

Failure is a part of life. You can be doing that which you have been given to do (I am an artist) and still experience failure - and hardship; you must still get up and persist. Sometimes being responsible will knock you on your back.

I have had to get back up on my feet several times in my sixty-seven years and it is not over.

Yet, I have more pity for my well off brothers whom as far as I can tell have not experienced serious failure or set back -- maybe with choice of wives, but otherwise no -- except for my youngest brother who is experiencing a long term layoff and unemployment for the first time in his life.

Blogger dienw July 18, 2016 11:06 AM  

I am in the middle of reading John Maxwell's Failing Forward. I recommend it.

Anonymous johnc July 18, 2016 11:58 AM  

@15 Reading this helped and it also helped me remind of somethint I realised last time I was unemployed but forget: Working for myself is the only tolerable future.

That's what I came to accept a few years ago. I left my job behind and took on client work instead. It's so much better.

Blogger Stillwater Forestry LLC July 18, 2016 12:02 PM  

Aussie,
I've been there twice. The first time I started my now current business. Wow was it tough, Maxed out all of my credit cards and struggled for over a year to make ends meet. But it was worth it. Years later - for strategic reasons- I throttled the business down and took a corporate job. All during my corporate time, I kept the business going at half speed. Weekends, vacations, nights etc.. I worked at the side business. Lucky for me, because two years later I was laid off again. The difference the second time around- the next day I was working full-time and making money. Having that side business kept me from going destitute. Been self employed ever since.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 18, 2016 12:03 PM  

At first, I presumed gamma review meant the writer was a Gamma Male. But as it went on, it looked more and more like the work of some teenage Tumblr girl.

There's a book, Grit by Angela Duckworth, that tries to distill some of this down to actionable strategies for building emotional resilience. Success and failure mixed together are needed.

Blogger James Dixon July 18, 2016 12:07 PM  

Failure, whether in your career or personal relationships, sucks. There's no sugar coating the matter. And learning to deal with it is the hardest thing most people will ever do. Been there, done that.

The single most important thing is the same thing others have told you. Don't give up, don't give in to depression and despair, and keep trying. As long as you keep working at it, something will eventually break your way.

And when you do finally find something that pays you well enough to live on, take Vox's advice and start looking at developing those second and third income streams. While that seems to be beyond most people's capabilities, it's the only long term solution.

Anonymous Nevermind July 18, 2016 12:08 PM  

"It didn't happen to them, after all, and they don't want to think about it happening to them."

Hmmm that does explain alot especially on how problems becomes systematized.

Blogger David The Good July 18, 2016 12:20 PM  

Definitely build multiple income streams, too, as pointed out. I have at least 12 now. A few years ago, I had only 2 or 3.

Anonymous Samson J. July 18, 2016 12:22 PM  

It's funny... reading through the OP and these comments, my initial reaction was to say I don't identify with it, because... I've never really failed at anything. By any metric, I've had a very successful life so far.

But then I realized... well, I *have* had "failures", it's just that I don't consider them failures in retrospect, or really think about them much, because I never let them stop me. I just plowed through them.

There's probably a lesson there.

Blogger RobertT July 18, 2016 1:29 PM  

I have come to appreciate failure as a necessary part of a complete life. What's the old saying, "the things you'll most regret on your death bed are those things you were afraid to try"? People who don't fail have much to regret on their death bed. I myself have had numerous failures. My dad was one of those people who made a fortune one day and lost it the next day. He was one of the guys who started Mazatlan. Every successful person has failed. Don't let it eat you alive.

Blogger Orville July 18, 2016 1:38 PM  

I'll chime in that building a skill stack is critical too. I just happened to write an article on that yesterday. It's a chapter in my book that might fail or might succeed.

Are You a One-Ply Guy

Blogger David-2 July 18, 2016 2:20 PM  

Scott Adam's book How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big is about exactly this. It's full of practical advice, which, of course, you can evaluate for yourself and then take or leave as you wish. His principle advice is: Have a system, not a goal. And see everything through that lens.

Blogger Orville July 18, 2016 2:32 PM  

Agreed. I'd rate Adam's book as one of the top two I've read this year. It was so good I got the paperback for my wife, and she ordered copies for my son and daughter-in-law.

Anonymous SciVo July 18, 2016 2:41 PM  

Mindset is huge. The most basic is a growth vs. fixed mindset: whether you see yourself as a learner (in which case lack of failure would be failure to challenge yourself enough), or as unchangeable (in which case failure is a sign of inadequacy).

Then expanding on that is expecting everything to be temporary: focusing from the start on what you hope to learn from each experience, with the goal of building a stack of synergistic talents, while managing your energy as your most important resource.

I'm sure others can recommend more. I still haven't finished that second one, but I'm making progress. It's just hard for me to digest, since it's such an alien mindset to me. Internalizing it takes time.

Blogger newanubis July 18, 2016 3:17 PM  

Not to get all mealy-mouthed but there really isn't a condition of failure, similar perhaps to there not being a condition of cold. What does not work must be amended or ameliorated even if it 'should' have worked. Failure, as such, is just a lesson. Those that learn from this do better going forward and those that wallow deflated assure themselves continued disappointment.

The only vice or virtue is whether or not we get back up.


"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Anonymous LastRedoubt July 18, 2016 4:44 PM  

it was hard learning to deal with failure without also treating it as a personal failing. Battle plans, enemy, etc. Still growing up, but made the hard leap. Got into work for myself.

Since then, I can lose one or many clients, and still be getting by, even if I'd have to cut back or otherwise change my home life, but I'd still have work.

I'm also looking for passive income streams I can make use of / create.

The only disadvantage I've found so far is that, running into a few clients who were nowhere near as reasonable as they originally came across, I've waited longer to fire them than I otherwise would have because they only affected a small part of my life. Had to learn to spot them.

That said, not having someone like that make nearly my entire life miserable is a huge plus.

Blogger Natalie July 18, 2016 6:15 PM  

Somewhat tangential - this is why you encourage your kids to take the tough classes instead of pushing them to get straight As. When grades/reports/social/hierarchical approval is how your kids get worth and identity then they will find a reasonably low bar because they can meet it every time.

I was told as a teenager that my college grades would follow me for the rest of my life. I'm a housewife now, and no one gives a flying flip that I made excellent grades in a rather easy discipline (English). The fear of failure that my mom ingrained in me has remained though. I have trouble with motivation, realistic time/risk assessments, stretching my comfort zone, etc. Not a great way to live your adult life.

Blogger Avalanche July 18, 2016 8:28 PM  

One thing that helped me get through the first couple of years after my husband died -- leaving me a MFG co. to put back into operation -- was a "motto" I picked to help: "I have no choice."

If something needed doing (a call, asking a supplier or distributor for help, or just getting up and trying again to do steps I wasn't quite sure how to do), I would remind myself that: I have no choice. Not harshly, not meanly, -- but because it was flat-out true.

It kept me going when I wanted to just stop.

Blogger jon spencer July 18, 2016 10:00 PM  

I would bet that people who play sports that have winners and losers will be able to handle failure much better than those who receive participation ribbons.

Blogger Kona Commuter July 19, 2016 1:19 AM  

Fed Up Aussie wrote:I was fired today. In terms of success, achievements and life milestones I am far behind my family and friends. Reading this helped and it also helped me remind of somethint I realised last time I was unemployed but forget: Working for myself is the only tolerable future.

I was at the point of wanting to quit anyway but was hoping to save up more money before I did. I was fired for not wanting a leadership a role but after seeing the amount of stress my own superior was under I decided it was not worth it.

Tomorrow I already have some jobs to call. My biggest regret is that I did not fail this job faster. Growing to hate your job affects you outside of work too much.




Ha

My last job I applied for and received a promotion. I only applied for it because I heard another guy applying for it and thought he was a loser.

Long story short I'd left a position which I enjoyed and lost access to overtime which had bumped my salary considerably. I asked to return to my previous position, this was allowed. The minute, and I mean the very minute it was set in stone I was told that I was not returning to my previous job. To top it all off I lost access to overtime. Previously good working relationships I had held for 7+ years changed to being bullied. To the point where my implementation of a practice which saved $56,000 p.a. was overturned out of spite.

Now I'm a sole trader getting by by the skin of my teeth. Am I happier? Hard to say to be honest.

Best of luck in your job hunt

Anonymous SciVo July 19, 2016 3:36 AM  

OT: In Bill Gross's July 2016 Investment Outlook "Just a Game," he talks about the apparent failure of Fed Governors and Presidents to grasp some rather simple macro-economic principles, due to getting stuck on old formulae and mistaking the map for the terrain. He's a top bond fund manager, really knows his stuff, and it's relevant to the ongoing economics discussion here (but no archive link yet).

Blogger Groot July 19, 2016 3:49 AM  

There is no fail, only learn. Always be learning. If you are a midwit, learn an established procedure (accounting, finance, law, sales, whatever). Good for you: be an expert. Prosper. If you are above midwit, establish new procedures. Surf epiphanies. Be Groot. Be where the puck is going to be.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 19, 2016 5:51 AM  

Anyway, CA, if you're reading... keep plugging away. Bad luck can scupper the best of us, but the real skill - the real success - is getting yourself another roll of the dice. Even if that roll comes up craps, you succeeded just by having that shot.

Because if you can scrape together another roll of the dice, this one might come up sevens, and if it doesn't, the next one will. Or the one after, it's just a matter of time. I know the struggles and I'm pulling for you. Good luck brother.

Blogger LP9 Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra July 19, 2016 11:32 PM  

Do not despair, hang in there, work will return.

53 sports and hobbies mean or usually predict a person is sprinter, a winner, accepts fails as part of life as water is wet and with life is also death.

Sometimes in GD or painting I'll complete a few backgrounds and within a week or two, as I sat on the project or minor at home art and craft thing, the best ideas arrive in soon time. So that item I thought was somewhat a waste was not a waste, its time did not arrive yet and when the time arrives I sit back and thank the Lord for the failures in NC's banking for the successes up north with the arts or with actuarial work. Not to misapply but 'art loves chance, chance loves art. When we place our 'art, heart and wallet' on the line success or failure or setbacks, overcome it.

It is not easy, its painful but try to let the emotional aspect go, the emotions can be a distraction or a further procrastination.

Blogger LP9 Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra July 19, 2016 11:34 PM  

I wonder if all the possible losses and failures we have in life are somehow kept in heaven and after death all that is laid out like a map showing a life review or paths where we rec'ed safe passage despite the fails or something greater of an layout.

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