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      11-05-2019, 04:46 PM   #1
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How do you deal with failure?

Hiya,

struggling with a bit of a personal topic recently, and looking for input and perhaps a different viewpoint.

Background: raised to work hard and "success" was the only option. Got a single B through all of highschool. Dropped out of medschool in the final year, (maybe to make it back this year (last year I can officially do so)), had a consulting job that paid $5000/month when I was 16, had my own company at 18, to then land a job as Managing Director in one of the "Top 100" companies in my country. Worked "24/7", lead the acquisition of another company, etc etc.

Approaching 30 and feeling that on the one hand, I have achieved a lot - on the other, there are people that have achieved "more", if nothing else, made more money.

And so all in all, I have to question: am I a success, or a failure?

I sort of constantly - i.e. every day - feel under pressure to deliver. Expectations from everyone around are that I am "successful". People say I am great, people come and ask to work with me specifically, do business with me.

This leads to, at least on the subconscious level, tension. I start feeling guilt when I am relaxing (=not working), I feel tense around other people who I know I "have" to impress, etc.

I have started thinking about my approach and attitude and am having a little trouble finding a way out. On the one hand, I could say "success" or "excellence" is my habit - so why not be calm about it, since I "know" this?

Perhaps because I am afraid that if I don't deliver 100%, then this is no longer excellence. When I am not "tensed up", I sometimes say things "wrong", I blame myself for not being sharper in the moment, etc. etc.

So on the one hand, it's like I've got a lot to lose. It's this fear that I fear.

I could just let go - say whatever, who cares - but where would that take me? If I was ambivalent about the result, focusing just on the input (i.e. what I can do) without focusing on the output... well, that just sound ideallistic. For me, it's a feedback loop - knowing that I felt ambivalent, I may not have given everything...

And additionally, I'm a curious person, that likes to prove himself right = likes to be successful. This curiosity is again, under "tension and pressure" - I feel tense about what the outcome will be, if I made the right assumption, did the right things, etc etc.

Is there any help? Basically, I feel as if the "whole world" is watching me, expecting nothing but success, and I have to live up to that...

On an opposite level, I see people that were constantly treated as "failures" - they have nothing to lose. They know they are a failure, they can only be a success. I am treated as a "success", so the only outcome is maintenance of status quo, or failure. Sounds like a lot of downside with very little upside to me...

I have read many books and quotes on the topic - i.e.:
- the journey is the destination (then I question: am I on the right journey? Maybe I am wasting my time, I could be doing something more effective)
- the people that mind don't matter and the people that matter don't mind - ok, but being "unsuccessful" means you will likely be surrounded with unsuccessful people... I don't want to be surrounded with unsuccessful people
- you will never be any more, or less, than anyone else - really? easier said from the perspective of someone "well off" than from the position of a homeless guy
- work on outdoing yourself, not the other guy - ya, ok, but why? someone else my age, with a background like or worse than mine, has made it further in life? Why not compare myself to him?
- etc.


So, is there any help for me?? How can I handle this at least a bit better?

Tl;dr: I don't want to look myself in the mirror 10 years from now and think I'm a failure. What do I do?
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      11-05-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
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Failure at what? Define success as it pertains to you!

Some would say you have already been very successful in your short career. You seem to be very focused on that. I would say you've done well for yourself career/financially.

Success is overall happiness. Whatever that may be to a person. Sometimes it's family, sometimes it's money, sometimes it's career, sometimes it's experiences/adventures. It's measured differently in all occasions.

Only you can define/ measure what makes you successful.
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      11-05-2019, 05:20 PM   #3
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Dont quit then you arent a failure
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      11-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #4
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delivering the best is everyone's concern.. but if you re not happy with the life you re living its failure doesnt matter how much money you make.. sounds like you re burning out..

you have to get over that feeling of relaxing = guilt thing.. it ll kill you thats the main thing.. there are tons of things to do except work.. create some time for you to make you feel good, seek for things that create good emotions.. it seems, its time for you to change..
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      11-05-2019, 05:39 PM   #5
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Don't ever compare yourself to anyone else when determining success. It is meaningless. I use a simple approach to life:

Vision-Clarity-Focus-Execution leads to success.

For my professional life, this has lead me to my success.

At age 7, I knew I wanted to be a pilot. That was my vision. Clarity came when I figured out that the military was my best route to achieve my vision. I focused on getting good grades so I could go to a military academy and fly fighters. Everything I did from age 16 to 22 was focused on executing that vision. Everything. I spent 20 years flying fighters in the Navy. Was I a success? Hell yeah. Was I the best fighter pilot? Hell yeah (just ask me )

I retired from the military and needed a new vision. That has become saving enough to retire @ 56. I am executing that vision now and the data show I will be successful (2 years to go). Do I make as much as my buddy? Nope. Not by a long shot. Am I good at my job? Yup. Do I consider myself successful? Yup.

Once I complete my second retirement, I have another vision: save dogs. All of them. I don't have clarity yet on how I am going to do that, but I have no doubt I will be successful. I have a vision.

Now, my personal life has not benefited from this Vision-Clarity-Focus-Execution plan. Wish I had done better at that part.

So, define YOUR vision, and get on with it. And never compare yourself to anyone else. Their vision is probably not yours.

Last edited by corn18; 11-05-2019 at 05:48 PM..
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      11-05-2019, 06:00 PM   #6
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Well I use to be an over achiever back in the day, always in papers and such for accomplishments or awards, 18 times one year alone. Both in business and volunteer work. Always felt like I wasn't doing enough or getting to where I wanted to be at my perceived desired speed.

Know where it got me? Disaster of epic proportions! I've actually done permanent damage to my potential and lost trust, relationships, clients, and belief in myself. I will most likely never hit where I wanted to be due to all that happened, and will never again be looked up to.

But this all said, I take one day at a time, learn from my failures, and do the best I can given the circumstances. I just focus on making my families life the best I can with out screwing up again. I have hobbies now, something I didn't have before, could even argue that life is better now that I don't worry about "besting" everyone all the time.

Just...do...you!

Good luck!
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      11-05-2019, 06:02 PM   #7
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The fact you're on here ... you're a failure hahahahaha ... until you can ... Ms. Kate Upton if you know what I mean ... you're a failure hahahahaha
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      11-05-2019, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Don't ever compare yourself to anyone else when determining success. It is meaningless. I use a simple approach to life:

Vision-Clarity-Focus-Execution leads to success.

For my professional life, this has lead me to my success.

At age 7, I knew I wanted to be a pilot. That was my vision. Clarity came when I figured out that the military was my best route to achieve my vision. I focused on getting good grades so I could go to a military academy and fly fighters. Everything I did from age 16 to 22 was focused on executing that vision. Everything. I spent 20 years flying fighters in the Navy. Was I a success? Hell yeah. Was I the best fighter pilot? Hell yeah (just ask me )

I retired from the military and needed a new vision. That has become saving enough to retire @ 56. I am executing that vision now and the data show I will be successful (2 years to go). Do I make as much as my buddy? Nope. Not by a long shot. Am I good at my job? Yup. Do I consider myself successful? Yup.

Once I complete my second retirement, I have another vision: save dogs. All of them. I don't have clarity yet on how I am going to do that, but I have no doubt I will be successful. I have a vision.

Now, my personal life has not benefited from this Vision-Clarity-Focus-Execution plan. Wish I had done better at that part.

So, define YOUR vision, and get on with it. And never compare yourself to anyone else. Their vision is probably not yours.
Well said Corn....Well said.
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      11-05-2019, 07:02 PM   #9
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Instead of measuring on success or failure, why not try to measure on happiness instead? Do what makes you happy, otherwise, everything else is just noise.
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      11-05-2019, 07:13 PM   #10
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If you where to fail, would any of these people saying you're successful help you succeed?

Yes, you have a safety net and support net.
No, there opinions are meaningless gestures, just being cordial.


YOU are the only one in control of your life and you have to set a long term goal ... you sound really goal focused and thus far you've only had short term goals. The short stuff is only going to give a short sense of personal accomplishment. To keep you busy for a while you need something long term to work to.
And yes you do need a few failures to humble you and bring you back into reality. You do have one so far, quitting med school.

It could also be that the things you have become good at where chosen because you knew you could do well. Maybe pick something you do poor at and challenge yourself more.



And speaking from the poor, never take a job/career that you can't leave at work. There needs to be a clear separation of work and personal life. If you're bringing work home, you're not really home.
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      11-05-2019, 07:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
- the journey is the destination (then I question: am I on the right journey? Maybe I am wasting my time, I could be doing something more effective)
- the people that mind don't matter and the people that matter don't mind - ok, but being "unsuccessful" means you will likely be surrounded with unsuccessful people... I don't want to be surrounded with unsuccessful people
- you will never be any more, or less, than anyone else - really? easier said from the perspective of someone "well off" than from the position of a homeless guy
- work on outdoing yourself, not the other guy - ya, ok, but why? someone else my age, with a background like or worse than mine, has made it further in life? Why not compare myself to him?
- etc.
Are you kidding me? Those are for for losers. The only one I'll teach my son is "wham bam thank you ma'am".
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      11-05-2019, 08:13 PM   #12
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What country are you from/currently live in?
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      11-05-2019, 08:57 PM   #13
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your time is finite; fail learn improve. until you die. youll never be perfect and youll never stop failing. just how it goes. not as simple as i right it. but helps to know
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      11-05-2019, 09:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_o_S View Post

Tl;dr: I don't want to look myself in the mirror 10 years from now and think I'm a failure. What do I do?
only thing you can do is get to work, or continue feeling like shit.
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      11-05-2019, 11:33 PM   #15
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What country are you from/currently live in?
He lives in the a$$ of a giant whale off the shore of Alaska.
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      11-05-2019, 11:53 PM   #16
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If I were to put on my armchair psychologist had and analyze this, success or failure isn't your true problem. The real issue here is that you lack self confidence.

Let's take a look at the facts:
1. You care how people think about you/see you
2. You constantly need affirmation from others on your success, are you doing well, could you do better, etc.
3. You're constantly comparing yourselves to others
4. And most importantly, you are never happy with what you have achieved. Your questions are only seeking for the answer that you haven't done enough, that you can do better. That's the answer you really want to hear.

Sorry bro, your root problem is self confidence. Once you address that, all the other questions/issues resolve themselves.

But coming back to your original question, yes in my eyes you have achieved success. Remember, success comes in many different forms. As long as you're happy, you have achieved success. If you're never satisfied, then you will never accept that you're successful.

In parting, I leave you with this Brazilian tale. I hope you find your happiness, in whatever form it takes.
----------

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
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      11-06-2019, 12:07 AM   #17
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I take it out on the cashier at walmart
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      11-06-2019, 07:07 AM   #18
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There will always be someone who is doing "better" than you. There will also be plenty of people who are in a much worse situation, often with very little hope to improve their life.

The important part is happiness. It's easy to look at what others have and define it as failure/success. Some of the most successful people I've known financially were by no means happy. They were perfect in school, were employed by well-known companies, and worked non-stop to be at the top... only to die a year after retirement.

What you've accomplished means nothing if you can't enjoy it.
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      11-06-2019, 07:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestRace View Post
The fact you're on here ... you're a failure hahahahaha ... until you can ... Ms. Kate Upton if you know what I mean ... you're a failure hahahahaha
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestRace View Post
Are you kidding me? Those are for for losers. The only one I'll teach my son is "wham bam thank you ma'am".
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestRace View Post
He lives in the a$$ of a giant whale off the shore of Alaska.
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      11-06-2019, 07:38 AM   #20
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      11-06-2019, 08:07 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redd View Post
If I were to put on my armchair psychologist had and analyze this, success or failure isn't your true problem. The real issue here is that you lack self confidence.

Let's take a look at the facts:
1. You care how people think about you/see you
2. You constantly need affirmation from others on your success, are you doing well, could you do better, etc.
3. You're constantly comparing yourselves to others
4. And most importantly, you are never happy with what you have achieved. Your questions are only seeking for the answer that you haven't done enough, that you can do better. That's the answer you really want to hear.

Sorry bro, your root problem is self confidence. Once you address that, all the other questions/issues resolve themselves.

But coming back to your original question, yes in my eyes you have achieved success. Remember, success comes in many different forms. As long as you're happy, you have achieved success. If you're never satisfied, then you will never accept that you're successful.

In parting, I leave you with this Brazilian tale. I hope you find your happiness, in whatever form it takes.
----------

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, "How long does it take you to catch so many fish?"
The fisherman replied, "Oh, just a short while."
"Then why don't you stay longer at sea and catch even more?" The businessman was astonished.
"This is enough to feed my whole family," the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, "So, what do you do for the rest of the day?"
The fisherman replied, "Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night."

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
"I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches."

The fisherman continues, "And after that?"
The businessman laughs heartily, "After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich."
The fisherman asks, "And after that?"
The businessman says, "After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!"
The fisherman was puzzled, "Isn't that what I am doing now?"
GREAT input. I agree 100%.

OP - Your description sounds a lot like me. However I'm 15 years further down this destructive path than you are. And in reading your post, you've been more successful than me. Done more things, made more money, have a bigger job. Oh wait, isn't that what dudes like us alway do? Compare ourselves to others and always find ways in which we come up short. Our answer is to always work harder, focus more, push just a little faster. I've managed to land myself a job where my boss realizes this about my personality and he takes advantage of it. So here I am, 45 years old, living every day with stress at a level 11, not sleeping well, irritated. I think I have an ulcer. My wife is upset because Im always checking my phone and not "present" with her in the evenings and on the weekends. When on vacation all I think about is work and take work related calls every day. I'm a F'ing wreck and it's not sustainable.

So take it from someone who is very much like you. You have destructive tendencies rooted in self-confidence issues. No matter how great you are, what you do, or what you achieve, it will never be enough to make you feel like "Ahhh, there it is, I finally achieved success." It will eat you up. You gotta get to the core of things and work through where that's coming from and how to let it go.
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      11-06-2019, 09:13 AM   #22
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OP, you sound a lot like myself and others on here. Being a Type A personality is no joke. Others see us as successful, well put together, determined, focused, etc. What they fail to understand is the amount of forethought and stress that goes into our every move; not to mention the ever present lurking fear of failure. Growing up, being raised by only one parent, my father, who was basically a drill sergeant in every aspect of life; perfection of all things was instilled into me at a very early age. Failure was not an option. If any one thing was not done to 110% it was done over and over again until success was achieved. To be honest, I still hold myself to this standard for the same reason you do....fear and the overall appearance of being successful.

I will say that your success, based off your initial post, and mine vary; but we are very similar in mindset. It took me years to overcome the fear of failure, now I embrace it as it comes with being human. We will never achieve perfection, but we must come to find peace and acceptance in doing the best that we can. We all have goals, but no one has ever set forth the time frame in which it takes to achieve said goals. As long as progress is made, you need to learn to find comfort in that progress. Sometimes the progression is quick, sometimes it isn't.

I suggest picking up a copy of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. (https://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Art-No...ps%2C-1&sr=8-1) It helped me tremendously in adapting to a mindset that allows me a little more peace of mind. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a Type A personality, go go go and 100 mph from the moment my eyes open, until 20 hours later when my head hits the pillow; but mentally being able to cope with failure is paradoxical for people like us. Failure will teach you what you have done wrong, so you know better next time. My only suggestion is that when you fail, do it again until you kick it's (whatever "it" is) ass, make it your bitch and then move on to the next thing. Don't forget to reward yourself when milestones are reached.

I hope my caffeine fueled ramblings have helped to some degree. You've received some very good advice from everyone above....aside from that WestRace guy, just ignore his ass. Keep winning sir and cut yourself some slack. You can only be successful if you'll allow yourself some peace, then sit back and appreciate all that you have accomplished.

Quote:
Originally Posted by upstatedoc View Post
inb4
Right??? I don't get on here nearly as often as I did before, but this guy is getting really close to the ignore button. Absolutely no value in anything he posts and the lols make me want to punch myself in the face. Highly predictable to the point where I will receive a "lols" response for this post. Hands down, a poster child for lack of understanding in how oneself is perceived by others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmyx6go View Post
I know, so uncalled for. At least no lols.
Agreed.

Last edited by Now_Rudi; 11-06-2019 at 09:18 AM..
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