Failure, disappointment, betrayal and defeat; they can all sting like a son of a bitch. Sometimes they can be heart crushing and leave you all but broken. And then just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse, it does.
But, because you’re reading this right here and now, we both know you’ve still got a chance. Many, many have suffered much worse, survived and eventually triumphed. And so will you.
So this is the first thought you’ve got to get straight in your head—you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Welcome to the real world, where bad things happen to good people and where difficulty reigns supreme.
And if you did it to yourself, the same still applies.
Fault is only relevant for reflection, especially if the damage or failure was self-inflicted. Take note and don’t make or allow the same mistake again. Make a vow to become better, smarter and more disciplined.
What really counts when things fall apart, is that you take responsibility for putting them back together again. For example, if it’s someone else’s fault that your leg is broken, it’s still your responsibility to heal up and get back to full strength. No one else can do this for you.
And it’s the same with the rest of your life. Fault is irrelevant at some point. What matters is the responsibility for making things right; and that responsibility is yours.
Take all the help you can get. But never release yourself from full responsibility. It’s your life and it’s up to you to fix it. Period.
No matter what happens.
Or no matter how often it happens.
There’s only one answer.
Don’t Expect to be Perfect
As the saying goes, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
By all means strive for perfection. Just don’t expect to be perfect.
There are some absolute no’s in this world—decisions or actions that must never occur in your life. We need not discuss these here. You know what they are. And you will not use this line of reasoning as an excuse to cross the inviolable red line.
But when it comes to performance, execution or discipline, do not expect to be perfect.
Even the master, even the world champion will rarely attain perfection. Once in a while, a near perfect performance can be said to be had, but there are many, many more which are replete with failure and disappointment. The difference between the master and the journeyman is simply about level and peak performance.
Consider yourself as a journeyman in your own life; a journeyman working his way toward mastery. Seek perfection. Seek excellence. Seek your best. But when you don’t quite make the mark, Rise Again, dust yourself off and get right back at it.
And if some of these failures are about bad habits, the same reasoning applies. Shoot for perfection, but don’t expect to be perfect. Improve over time. Tell yourself, this time I will not falter. And if you do falter, tell yourself the same thing again; no matter the interval involved; long or short. Keep at it.
Until one day when you finally do get it right. And you’ll thank yourself for forgiving yourself for not being perfect; for not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good; until good did become perfect.
Over and over again if need be.
Sometimes it’s the only answer.
And besides, the only thing worse than a failure, is a quitter.
So don’t expect to be perfect, just get right back up and try to be.
Minimize the Damage
If you do mess up and ruin some sort of personal winning streak, do not use the breakdown as an excuse to flush it all down the toilet. Even if it’s the umpteenth time. As discussed above, you and I both know we’re not perfect. And there’s no need to punish yourself, or worse, feel sorry for yourself.
And the same goes for any other circumstance that conspires to knock you off track. The worse thing you can do is to give up. Do what you have to do to stop the bleeding. And buy yourself some time to get back on your feet.
Your first reaction should be to hold the line and minimize the damage. Do whatever you need to do to at least hold things together. No forward progress is better than reverse progress. And less reverse progress is better than a complete collapse.
Sometimes in life there’s just no way around it; it’s two steps forward and one step backward at best. There’s almost never a straight unimpeded line to the top. And sometimes you’ll fall and roll all the way back to the start. But if you do take a fall, scratch and claw as hard as you can to stop the decline.
And then Rise Again and get right back at it. Learn to ignore how you feel and take action. Become a mercenary to your objective. You don’t have to feel anything. You can just get shit done. Period.
Or you can feel like shit and do it the fuck anyway. This is what I call the Panzer Special. I have lots of personal experience in this regard. After a while it doesn’t matter how you feel; good bad or otherwise; you always get the job done or will at least fight like hell to hold it all together.
Don’t ever let life fool you into quitting. Disappointment, difficulty and failure are just part of it all. And life will indeed try to play tricks on your mind. But you’ve now been forewarned. So don’t fall for it.
If you get knocked off your feet, Rise Again and keep on fighting the good fight.
And remember you now have a new weapon—the Panzer Special…
Even if you feel like shit, do it the fuck anyway.
And minimize the damage.
Recalibrate and Start Again
Sometimes your calculations and expectations can be wrong. And a complete collapse can become unavoidable.
Or circumstances or other people will conspire against you, beyond your ability to survive them.
Fine. Sure it stinks. But what are you going to do? Even the best of us will have failures and suffer defeat.
The key, however, is how you react to those failures; especially the gut wrenching ones.
If you’re a man of character, you’ll Recalibrate and Start Again. You’ll get over the breakdown, study what went wrong, reset your expectations and then have another run at it.
In other words, you’ll Rise Again and Start Again.
You won’t be the first man to have to weather disappointment, perhaps many times, before finally succeeding. Consider this as simply your path and destiny to Personal Glory.
And of course, at some point it will dawn on you. If you keep rising again and never quit, you’ll eventually get your way—a tremendous lesson to learn in life.
Learn this lesson, believe it with all you’ve got and you’ll eventually become indomitable.
A man who is able to rise from complete failure, discern what went wrong, recalibrate and then get right back at it over and over again, is the definition of indomitable.
And once you start thinking indomitable, it’s not too far from there (dare I say) to Becoming a Force of Nature; not a bad place to be.
So remember then, worse case scenario, you simply Rise Again, Recalibrate and Start Over.
Chart a New Course
There are occasions in life where starting over in a pursuit is just not possible or just not worthwhile. Sometimes you’ve just got to let something or someone go. There are things which are simply beyond our control. And people who are just not who we thought they were.
Acquiescence does have its place in life. If it’s over, it’s over. Let it go and move on.
The smart man knows when something is over with. He knows when to stop putting good money after bad. Things change and people change. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Sometimes it takes a few tries to eliminate what won’t work before it becomes apparent what will work.
Do not let your ego be what prevents you from letting go. Not all battles can be won. And sometimes you’ve got to admit defeat and retreat to prevent a fatal loss. Live to fight another day. Survival should always be foremost in your mind. Because without it, there is nothing.
The key is not to let such a painful collapse hold you down. Take the lessons learned, brush yourself off, Rise Again and pivot. Keep your feet moving, but take off in a new direction.
Chart a New Course. As long as you’re moving forward and your trajectory is headed in the right direction, that’s all that matters.
Your first choice may not always turn out to be the best choice. So live and learn as they say. Live, learn and keep taking action. Onward and upward.
If you need to take some time to reassess and reevaluate l then do so. Time is sometimes necessary for perspective to make itself apparent. Time, distance and discernment can make for wise decisions.
But the underlying principle always remains the same in life when things go awry.
Rise Again and carry on.
Rise like a Phoenix.
Live, thrive and enjoy.
All the best,