The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. ~Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
When Judi Dench delivered that line at the end of the movie based on the Moggach book, she had a broad audience. Disappointment ranks as the third most commonly experienced emotion, following love and regret. We go to great lengths to dodge disappointment, including cautiously doing nothing.
But playing possum leaves us more disappointed because, in addition to accomplishing very little, our good ideas dry up. How do we keep going when the pain of disappointment always lurks around the corner? Here are a few tips that can help:
- Trace the pain of disappointment to its real source. The real source of pain is not the disappointing event, but rather what we think about it. If we think, “My world is ending,” we might sink into a black depression. If we think, “Well, that’s a bummer; I guess it’s time to start over,” we sink only to feeling temporarily blue.
- Treat disappointments like Steve Jobs treated mistakes. Like other successful people, he celebrated mistakes because they were a sign he was still trying.
- Shake it off. When our sons played Little League,that’s what we shouted to a player if he struck out. Fortunately, when the very young players cried, no one shamed them, because a good cry can help you shake it off…and begin again.