When everything goes wrong, it’s hard to be positive. In fact, it’s easy to get downright negative. But it’s during those times that we need to motivate ourselves to keep going. And we need to remember the old adage, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” So in dealing with our disappointments, we need to look actively for silver linings.
Looking for silver linings is not a waste of time. It is a focused exercise to train your mind to stay upbeat in the midst of failure.
So here are three things you can think about as you look for silver linings in life’s setbacks.
1. What did you learn?
As you begin to process failure, there is the temptation to think that your whole endeavor was wasted effort. But in the wreckage, you can find some nuggets to help you.
Failure is a great teacher if we are willing to let it teach us. But we have to be open to looking into our setbacks to learn those lessons. And we have to make ourselves be teachable.
But if we will study our failures and be teachable, we can find many lessons we can draw from what went wrong.
2. What went right?
Even when we think that everything went wrong, we can still find something that went right. But it may take us some time to find it.
When you do find something that went right—and you will—then be grateful. Gratitude will change you for the better, especially in the midst of failure.
Once you have discovered what went wrong and what went right, then you can focus on looking at how you could do it differently.
3. What could you do better next time?
As you do your analysis of what happened, you can retool for the next time. Because you will want to get out there and try it again.
Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And that is the attitude you will want to cultivate in order to capitalize on what you have learned.
The most inspiring success stories didn’t happen overnight. Their success came out of repeated failure. Because they were willing to look for silver linings.
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