No matter what industry you’re in, quick recovery after a failure is always a beneficial quality to have. It could be a major blow of your destiny or a minor act of healthy competition, but if you can’t take it – this will give your opponent an advantage, and this means you’ve got something to improve.
Recovering after some kind of failure is a very hard skill to obtain, but as with any kind of skill, it is quite real and possible to develop. So all I want to do today is to share only a few of the important things to keep in mind when working on your recovery skills.
No surprises – no shock
The worst thing about any failure is when it happens unexpectedly. It immediately upsets you that some things didn’t go as planned, and that you couldn’t do something you honestly believed you were quite capable of.
It’s all about an element of surprise, really. If you knew the failure was about to happen, you’d have taken some additional steps to prevent it from happening. So when it comes to improving your quick recovery skills, first of all it should be an improvement of your own awareness of what’s happening.
If you’re taking a part in a game, or if it’s some situation at work requiring a bit of competitiveness from you, or if it’s just another ordinary evening walk you’re having – try to be aware of things around you. Don’t expect anything bad to happen, don’t predict the failure to happen, but at the same time never exclude such outcomes in any situation. Anything could happen, and you can’t obviously be alert 100% of your time and be prepared for any kind of disaster to happen, but every little helps – sometimes doing very little you really protect yourself from surprising shocks.
Know your weakness
It might sound simple, but it is the most usual reason of lacking the quick recovery abilities. After all, it is a natural thing that most people hate revisiting their weaknesses. But what’s always a surprise to me, is that many people don’t know some of their weaknesses, and in some cases they don’t know any weaknesses of theirs at all.
It is surprising for me because I rarely do something without some kind of estimation. Lots of things are constantly factored in – sometimes I consider the benefit of doing or not doing something, or it could be that I want to know how time consuming a particular task will be. In many cases it could be your physical abilities. And while some of such factors are fairly obvious and easy to estimate, others are not.
For instance, you wouldn’t try to open a door of your car while driving on a highway and jump out, and you wouldn’t do it not because of some physical limitations – you’re probably strong enough to open a door and make a jump, but because of other things you automatically consider – like what usually happens when you’re out of your car at such a high speed. The same way you consider lots of things when making decisions every minute of your life. But for some reason, this thoughtful approach isn’t always there when you’re competing with someone.
So to recover really quick, you should know your limitations, and at least admit that if you lose because one of them, there wasn’t much you could do. If you accept this thought, and concentrate on your strong areas to achieve the goal, it wouldn’t be as much a shock to you if you make a mistake or lose because of one of your weak areas.
All this would mean is that you’ve just had a very natural thing happen to you – you knew it was your weak area, you tried your best, but there was a point after which you couldn’t do any better. And it’s nothing shameful or nothing shocking – it’s a natural way of things. Remember, that your competitor might have enough skills to recognize your weaknesses and to exploit them – and this fact would again be a valid and possible outcome of the situation, and not a shock.
Another positive side of knowing your weaknesses is that you can then plan and decide on what tactics you should employ to cover your weak areas, to become more competitive. Learn to turn your weaknesses from disadvantages into something neutral and quite normal, something you wouldn’t worry as much.
Learn your strong points
If you’re good, you’re good. Know your strong points and make it a habit improving them. Learn to take advantage of your strong points. Learn to use your strong areas to make up for the weak ones.
Strong points are fairly easy to identify. It’s what you like doing most, and where you feel most competitive. The explanation is really simple – if you like doing something, you tend to do it more often than other things. And as practice makes perfect, it excels your skills firstly among the things you do most often.
It is also a good idea to listen what others have to say about your strong areas. You can always ask them about your weak areas too, but somehow people don’t like others telling them about it. We tend to feel more vulnerable when we realise that people around us see our weaknesses so well. But for the strong areas, we’re always happy to hear another opinion. We like people reassuring us how good and strong we are in a particular subject, and it pleases us to know that it’s not only yourself, but others who recognize you strong in some areas.
Observe and adapt
It’s rarely a case when you are the only person who could fail. Never forget the simple truth: everyone and anyone can fail at some stage. Not everyone is afraid of it as much as you are, but as we’ve established, this could be helped. So do your observations – look at how people react to their successes and failures, and try to behave in a similar way.
There are few advantages to such a way of adapting. First and foremost – you see other people fail and you realise it yet again that failure is just a part of the game, and a very possible thing to happen to anyone. How many times have you looked at someone really good at their subject, thinking to yourself: anyone could fail, anyone but him. But secretly you hoped something would make this person fail someday, and of course you laughed sarcastically and it somehow pleased you when you finally saw the moment of such a failure.
Accept it – everyone fails, and not always it’s due to the personal qualities and features. Quite often there is absolutely nothing you could do. There is nothing anybody could do. So all you do in such situations is to accept this and think one step forward – what needs to be done next to make up for the opportunity you’ve just lost.
Observation also helps you recognize a typical reaction of people to their failures, and when you learn the basics of it, you could react in exactly the same way when and if you fail. Observation and adaptation of a common reaction will absorb the shock of a failure, because not only will you know that there’s nothing wrong with a failure, but you will also know that your behaviour is absolutely normal, because that’s exactly the way so many others reacted to a similar failure.
You could also use adaptation as an advantage. Just do what everybody else did when failing, and you’ll make sure that no one can really guess how hard a blow this failure really is for you. Use is to protect yourself. Act the most common way and you’ll make it as hard as possible for anyone to see your fear or your frustration about the situation.
Always remember, that no matter what happens – there will be people around you doing the same observation and adaptation. So even if hiding your real feelings or natural reaction of yours for a given failure could be of huge importance and advantage.
This is the last piece of advice I have for today. Never stop – this means if you do stumble and fail, make yourself take the next step. Don’t allow yourself to stop, overcome all your fears and frustration, pain or hesitations, and push yourself forward. Just remember, that failure is never a good moment to analyze the situation. When you fail, you naturally feel upset, and your judgement is bound to be clouded by this. And since it is in your interest to at least make sure the situation doesn’t get worse, please do take this extra step forward and only then, when there’s less pressure and less frustration left, take your time to think why you have failed and what could be done to prevent it.
This is in essence what people call a quick recovery – when even after the most horrible mistake made you find strength to move forward no matter what, to stay in the game and to remain competitive. And this is exactly what makes them take a closer look at you to either admire the strength you’ve found for a recovery or to suddenly realise how much better a player you really are.
So never stop, and don’t you worry – there’s always plenty of time to analyse what went wrong and to find ways of improvement later. Now, don’t take this last advice of mine directly. If you made an honest mistake, take it easy and move on. But don’t do anything stupid just because you think you have to do something.
There should always be a common sense involved in all your actions, so by asking you not to stop I really mean if you failed but think you can push yourself just a bit extra harder to hide your frustration and move on – please do so as it’s in your interest. But if there isn’t much to be done right away – accept it. Don’t rush things in, don’t immediately try to repeat the same set of actions as they’re most likely to incur the same kind of mistake yet again.
Well, hope this helps. I really should be giving more examples from my everyday life, so I think that’s what I’ll start doing with my next entry in a few days time. Till then, good bye!