Growing in adversity

Growing in adversity

We have all experienced failure and know the frustration that comes with it. When you apply for a scholarship and you have already planned how it would be once you obtained it. When you study for an exam as hard as you can, and think it went well only to see a lower grade than you expected. Or even when you apply for a contest only to be rejected.

All these instances hurt. It’s not fun when they deny what you expected and you have no way of changing the outcome, it sucks, and I think that so long as you care even a tiny bit about what you applied for then it will always hurt more or less.

But failure, even if it hurts, can be a good wake up call. It could act as a primer to make you work harder. Because now you know, that you can improve, that there are places where with more work you could reach a higher goal.

I believe it can be one of the best fuels for motivation (albeit not the healthiest), and that it can act as the best guidepost. I see it as one of the few experiences that can tell you where exactly you are lacking, they give you fuel for introspection.

It gives you a chance to understand how your skills fare compared with the world and a way to understand that you can reach even greater heights. If there are things you can actually improve in, doesn’t that also mean that you can travel this road way further.

The important part, how do you actually use failure as a fuel to become better.

Turning it into a strength

1)Accept that it happened

Well the first step is to actually accept it. No excuses about not caring about it or having done it just because. If you did it while being half assed and failed that means that you have to work on your diligence and perseverance.

Not trying hard enough isn’t an excuse for failure, it will only make you get used to cowering behind excuses. And believe me that is something you really don’t want to do. If you in that direction you will start finding excuses for anything and everything and working hard will get even more difficult.

2)Understand why you failed

The second step is to try to deconstruct it and understand why you were unable to achieve the result you wanted. If you applied to some contest or scholarship you can always send an email asking about ways in which you could improve your application. Ask them which were the parts they found lacking and if they can think of any way in which other participants made it better.

This is incredibly useful, because if you know exactly which parts you should improve it helps a lot in knowing where you should focus your energy. Having concrete goals can be a really good motivator.

Remember that the more vague the goal the harder it is to stay motivated in the long run. Always try to add something you can measure, be it rewarding yourself for the time spent on it, or working on projects and seeing how you get better as time goes.

*Remember, always send a thank you email for any kind of feedback they give you, because sadly most people don’t give you any feedback and we should show our appreciation to those that take the time to actually send us feedback

In the case that you can’t get feedback because they didn’t answer you or if it was maybe too vague. The option you have is to ask friends to see it and try to see which parts they would improve.

Remember to always tell them that it is fine to trash it or point out some flaws you saw in it and tell them if they could help you spot more. Most people have a really hard time telling anything bad, even if in the end all that feedback is helping you and saving you time (of course always be critical with the feedback they give you, not in the moment they give it to you, at that moment accept it and tell them to elaborate a bit more if possible, but after that write down all the comments and see which ones make sense).

The last option is to read more about the topic and see which are the usual tips or which are the comments by experts on the field and try to see if you committed any of the mistakes they mentioned, as well as trying to see if there are any skills you can learn that are expected or that would be useful to achieve what you want.

3)Use what you learned and improve

Last but not least. Start working on it. Set a schedule with concrete goals and try to work towards them step by step. At the end of each day write your achievements, it helps a lot in keeping motivation and in getting you to be more positive. Keep on applying to more stuff, if you wait too long after you get the rejection, you might have an even harder time and you could get into the habit of waiting until you are ‘’prepared’’ enough.

The fact is that, you will never be prepared enough, you can always improve so just try your best and send it and worst case scenario you can get some concrete feedback on how to improve.

Take the first step as soon as you can by accepting the situation and making the first stepping stone for your path.

So cheesy as it is, I would like to end by saying. Don’t give up and always try to keep improving, because that way you will surely make progress towards your goal.

Thank you for reading, and if you liked this article please visit my webpage Thetowerofscience.com, to find more articles on different topics.

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