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10 Reminders I Keep Close To Heart When Faced with Failure or Uncertainty

When something does not go our way, it becomes easy to lose sight of our goal or purpose. Throughout the past year, I have compiled 10 quotes that kept me grounded whenever I felt like I was falling.

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Image Courtesy of Twitter Account: @BTS_twt
Image Courtesy of Twitter Account: @BTS_twt

1. “A slump is inevitable. What do you have to do? Persevere, don’t think so much. Just keep going. You will improve. From there, you will overcome.”

BTS’ Suga shared during a livestream: “If you end up getting the results that you don’t want, you might think that your entire world is falling apart. But it’s not.” Things will be okay, even if it does not turn out as the ideal or in the way that we hoped for.

During this past year, I have met many slumps and struggled with self-doubt after failing examinations twice. However, I realised that though I may not be able to guarantee my outcome, I can still do my best for my next attempt. I tried different study methods: note cards, mind-maps. I applied the Pomodoro technique, which helps with my short attention span. I switch between locations and subjects to make it more interesting. There are many techniques that can help us improve.

2. “I hope we strike a balance between the things that are within our power to control and the things that are out of our control.”

BTS’ RM shared during a livestream: “You’d eventually have to face the things you don’t like. So don’t focus too much on your past or how your future is going to be.”

Studies show that we worry because we think it can prevent negative outcomes or help us find better ways of doing things. We have to shift our focus on the present. I find that making lists helps to categorise my thoughts and tasks: pro-con, to-do lists, or reminders. The benefits of to-do lists includes better organisation of our time, prioritising our tasks, and relieving stress. For example, my current task is to finish my studies. Whether I will be practising long-term in my field is a question I do not need answers to right now.

3. “When you don’t know where to go, I think the best way is to walk down the road you have been walking on.”

Especially those of us in our 20’s, we may be feeling lost about our career. Encountering failure does not necessarily equate to us not being cut out for it at all. It can be lack of experience, different values from the company, or there may be an opportunity waiting around the corner.

I have been doubting if my consistent failure determines my success in my career. This not only demotivates me from trying, but it paralyses me from doing anything at all. What I can do instead is to equip myself with the necessary skills. These includes keeping up with my studies, tracking changes in my field, virtual internships, taking Masterclass or Skillshare classes to improve my existing skills.

4. “When one door closes, another door opens…”

We often quote the first part of this quote, forgetting the second half which states: “But we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” We should also be open to opportunities. In the meantime, we can learn to better ourselves.

5. “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

The only real error we can make is if we learn nothing from our experience. There are 5 steps in learning from our mistakes:

a) Owning it,

b) Reflecting on how you can prevent it,

c) Analysing it,

d) Putting what you learned into practice,

e) Reviewing your progress.

6. “You can’t prepare for the next game if you dwell in the previous game. So I hope you will shake off what has happened.”

Otherwise, we will be stuck in the past and not focusing on building our present. Psychotherapist Amy Morin shares 10 healthy ways to cope with failure.

BTS’ Suga had shared this advice during a group livestream when they welcomed 2020. We have to face our emotions head-on and create a game plan moving forward.

7. “Being a student is being like a boxer. You are expected to struggle!”

This was what a lecturer shared with our class at the very beginning of our semester. It is powerful to acknowledge what we feel – even if it’s negative. Though emotional avoidance provides short-term relief, it is harmful in the long run. Facing them allows you to familiarise, helping you to manage it in your life. Accepting a negative emotion makes it lose its destructive power, as you are letting it run its course rather than pushing it away.

8. “If you’re a writer and you’re passionate about it, keep writing.”

We can replace the word ‘writer’ with any profession, but the message overall is to do what you love – even if it takes time.

Mitchell C. Clark adds, “Write often. Write on different platforms and in different formats. Write when you think no one’s reading. Over time, you’ll be blown away by what happens to you and who finds you.” We may have to juggle our paying job with our passion, but we can achieve our dreams. We can find opportunities to share our work: through competitions, workshops, publications, online forums, or YouTube.

9. “I am so afraid of disappointing the people I love, I often forget that I am someone I love too.”

When facing failure and rejection, we may subconsciously take it out on ourselves. However, perfection is an elusive term. What’s important is that we did our best. I admit I was not in my best state during the first sit of my papers, but it was the best I could do in that moment. Can I improve? Definitely. Does blaming myself help me in future attempts? No. Our worth is not based on our success nor our failures.

10. “Feel what you need to feel, and then let it go. Do not let it consume you.”

Using applications such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Thought Diary can help us to document our negative emotions, analyse why we’re feeling this way, re-evaluate our thoughts into more balanced ones. Keeping track of what we feel allows us to distinguish between our rational thoughts and thoughts fuelled by fear or pressure.

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