Ten setbacks are the going price for any worthwhile win. If you look at the major league baseball standings at the end of any season, you’ll find that, out of thirty teams, only eight make the playoffs, and only one of those ends up winning the World Series. Are those annual standings the end of the world for the twenty-nine losers? Hardly.
Analyze every failure, but never wallow in one. President Harry Truman once said, “As soon as I realize I’ve made one damned fool mistake, I rush out and make another one.” Failure is a condition all of us experience. It’s our reaction to our failures that distinguishes winners from losers.
What makes a great racehorse as compared to a cheap claimer is not just speed, it;s heart. A claimer usually makes just one run. Once the horse is passed, that’s it, the animal quits and the race is over. But stakes horses, the best of the breed, are different. Even if they fall behind, they’ll come back and try to regain the lead. There’s no quit in them. Like National Football League (NFL) coaching legend Vince Lombardi’s teams, they never lose, they just run out of time. Defeats are temporary. Heart and class are permanent.
Don’t rationalize away the hurt. You didn’t get the job? Turned down for a raise? Denied admission to the college of your choice? Don’t kid yourself and try to cover up the hurt with “Gee, I didn’t really want it anyway.” Of course you wanted it. “I suppose I didn’t deserve it.” Of course you did. Self-delusion and self-hatred aren’t the answer. Don’t let your worth be defined by others. Point your head in the right direction and get back in the game.
It’s not a permanent condition; it’s a short-term setback. You have a goal. The particular job or raise or school may have been a stepping-stone tot hat goal, but that’s all it was. There’s more than one way to cross a river. Now you’re going to have to rethink the path, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the goal.
You can find more tips and advice in my new paperback “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door.”