Dealing With Disappointment And Failure As You Pursue Your Goals

It’s been 4 months since you last set your New Year’s Resolution or set your goals. So far, you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. Or maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe what you set out to achieve by now… just didn’t work out. You failed.

But this isn’t the first time. How do you deal with it if it keeps happening every time you put the effort into trying to make progress in life?

Before we answer that question, I think we need to keep something in mind.

This is normal.

Achieving and not achieving your goals are both significant parts of the process of pursuing goals.

And there is a reason for this.

You really need to understand both. Winning often shows you what you are supposed to do. Failing often shows you what you are NOT supposed to do. Do you think you are at a DISADVANTAGE when you don’t possess both types of knowledge? Do you think you are at ADVANTAGE when you have just one?

Suppose you knew two people. One person was determined to win in life at all costs. While the other… was determined to fail no matter what. Suppose we gave these people time to go through life to gain some experience pursuing goals. Armed with both the knowledge of how to succeed and how to fail… eventually, the one that chose to pursue success… will ultimately win.

And in the same way, the one who chose to pursue failure… will ultimately fail… (but in their mind, that’s probably the same as winning).

But I’m sure you can understand why. The winner knew and focused on what to do to get closer to winning and further from failing. While the failure knew and focused on the exact opposite. In this case, they both used the most efficient ways to get to their goals.

STEP 1 is to always maintain a “burning” desire for the outcome or goal you most want. This will help clearly define to you what is not desired or what should not be tolerated. Including failing.

We aren’t putting in all our energy and time into pursuing our goals just so that we can end up with failure. So we toss aside that failure as though we burnt rice trying to cook it and start again. Make new rice. Having the skill of burning rice will not serve you in any meaningful way.

However… knowing how you got the rice burnt is valuable information.

This leads us to STEP 2.

STEP 2 is to always try to find out how you were responsible for the outcomes you are getting.

Whenever we blame the environment or people around us for what we failed to attain… we are doing something unconstructive. We are indirectly saying that our ability to win or succeed… is in the hands of other people and our environment. Which is the same as saying that, as far as succeeding is concerned, we are useless to ourselves since OUR success is determined by others.

And the way the mind works is quite simple: You will get more of what you tend to believe. If you deeply believe that your success is determined by others or factors that you have no control over… then you will BEHAVE like it is true. Your attitude and habits will show it. They will be a complete contrast to the attitude and habits of those that believe that they are capable of creating the success they desire.

Put these two types of people in the same room and they will have very little in common to talk about.

For most of us (if not all of us), logic and reasoning only come second to beliefs. We create logic and reasoning to REINFORCE our beliefs. This is why we are stubborn. We always seek ways to defend who, how, and why we are. What we believe we are.

Do you believe that you are or can become talented? Defend your case.

I digress.

But you must be able to confront the man/woman in the mirror whose living your life. Making your decisions. In turn… bringing you closer or further from what you want.

You failed or did not get what you set out to achieve… what is it about you that is responsible for the outcomes you get? What actions or lack of actions led to them? Were you meant to make an important change that you didn’t? Did you put in 100% effort or just 50%? Were you trying to win with the right crowd or the wrong crowd? Did you try to win with a larger audience or just one or two people?

In life… every action has consequences. This is law.

This ultimately means that every victory or failure… can be explained. When it comes to YOUR life and YOUR efforts in YOUR pursuit… try asking YOURSELF how you got to where you got to.


Adopt the mindset of a learner/student trying to understand more of what he/she is doing. Do not make the highlight of your entire existence just about when you won or when you lost. More important than winning or losing is experiencing.

This is why scientists in labs don’t break down crying when an experiment fails. They celebrate the fact that they have NEW data. Data that comes from a failed or successful experiment is always useful and important if you develop the wisdom to see things that way.

Viewing your pursuit in this way will ultimately help you see what the scientists see in what they do… that being a scientist is actually fun and fulfilling.

Well… not all scientists are created equal… but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

You are not the result of what you win at and what you fail at in life. You are defined by what you persist at. What you consistently do even after you win or fail. Way before you win or fail.

The only artists that I know are the ones that actually make art. Whether they win or lose at what they do has nothing to do with me but more with how they chose to pursue their lives as artists.

Don’t get me wrong… there are starving artists and financially wealthy artists. But let us never make the mistake of giving them permanent labels. Unless we live their lives… we have no idea if the starving artist is getting closer to winning… or if the financially wealthy artist is on his/her way to bankruptcy. Life isn’t about extremes. It’s about how we get to those extremes and how we proceed afterward.


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