Have you ever worked extremely hard to achieve a certain goal, but at the end you still failed to achieve it? Last semester, I worked so hard for the elevator pitch but for the final competition, my brain still went blank and I forgot what I wanted to say.
Recently, I have been preparing for an exam in my Finance class and I tried to review and study the material covered in class in every way possible: I recorded and listened to all the lectures, I went to Youtube for extra information, and I read my notes and the book, but at the end I still did not perform as well as I wanted to on the exam.
What can I say? If I blame my performance on others or on outside factors, I can gain your understanding and empathy. I could exaggerate my efforts to make it seem like I couldn’t have done any more. But if I take this attitude, it will not help me succeed in life. If I want to succeed in the future, I need to monitor my performance and be ready to make changes to improve for future performances.
Here are my personal tips on handling everyday failures:
Step 1: Accept that you didn’t do as well as expected this time.
Step 2: Think through your processes and strategies, and brainstorm ways to improve them.
Step 3: Put your ideas into action and see which ones work.
Step 4: Stand in front of a mirror and practice self-affirmation.
Step 5: Start over: get out there and try again!
My own example:
Step 1: Acceptance: I did not get a good grade on my Finance exam because I did not study enough, or I studied in the wrong way.
Step 2: Reflection: I did study hard, but I just went through the exercises themselves too briefly and there was too much information to take in.
Step 3: Take action: In the future, I will start studying ahead of time and prepare questions for clarification during the next lesson.
Step 4: Self-affirmation: Look in a mirror and tell myself that I can do it. I can be successful next time!
Step 5: Start over: Keep studying now for the next exam and carry out the improvements stated above.
One last tip: don’t be afraid to ask for outside help! JCU offers academic advising; you can always schedule an appointment with your adviser to discuss your struggles or challenges and work together to find a solution. JCU also has psychological counselors willing to listen to us and do their best to help and support us. If you are unhappy with your performance and you want help improving, or if you think you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to the resources you have on hand for help working through these issues.