15 September 2016

How resilient people bounce back from disappointment or setbacks

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When we give in to negative emotions, with actions like disappointment or feeling deflated or defeated, over the course of time they become entrenched and they shape the way we see the world.

Fortunately, it is not only negative emotions which when repeated become entrenched, in fact positive emotions can become just as entrenched. So the challenge is can we make optimistic thinking and experience a habit in our lives?

The challenge is to change the way we talk to ourselves in at least 3 ways. Firstly, focus on the benefits in any situation. Secondly, seek the valuable lessons rather than the mistakes. And thirdly, rather than drown yourself in the negative emotions, focus on the task to be completed to move forward.

Now let’s look at these 3 strategies in greater detail. The first strategy involves looking at the benefits within the situation. Optimists look for the benefits in every situation, even in the face of setbacks. They are utterly committed to extracting value from the situation and have a confident expectation of success. Being optimistic is not only about wishful thinking or putting on a happy face no matter what occurs. Stress is inevitable and the only things, which we have in control, is our response to stress. By focusing on the benefit in the situation and identifying the positives, we create an opportunity of noticing and recognising a range of alternatives which allows us to move forward more positively to solve the problem.

Secondly, optimists are always keen to focus on lessons to be learnt. Instead of focusing on mistakes within certain situations, where they punish themselves over errors of judgement or mistakes, , optimists choose to focus instead on the values to be learnt from the experience. If you think of a difficult situation that you faced or a setback, rather than punishing yourself for the mistakes you’ve made or a negative experience, choose instead to focus on the lesson that you’ve have learnt. This will give you something of value to take forward in the future.

Our last and final strategy involves focusing on the task. You know what it’s like when you have faced a setback or disappointment – the overwhelming emotions, fear, regret or even anger – can sometimes paralyse us and limit our options of moving forward. Optimists instead choose to focus on the task that needs to be completed, to change the situation and move it forward.


The key challenge is how do we free ourselves of the negative emotions and focus concretely on the practical challenges in the immediate situation. A clear vision of your end goal – what is it that you’re trying to achieve – will do more to generate energy, sharpen your focus and empower you to improve your performance. 

The best part of my job as an Assistant General Manager – Production is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

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