Those who experience neither (or in very low doses) are rare indeed - usually limited to either the uber-privileged or the ultra-talented. Not a lot of those folks around, and I'm not sure I'd trade places with any of them.
Three arenas have proven exceptional proving grounds in which I learned to grapple with failure in a reasonably healthy way: 1) athletics, 2) raising children, and 3) leadership roles.
From those combined endeavors (or, crucibles) some powerful tenets emerged by which it seemed failure and disappointment could best be leveraged (yep, leveraged) in order to optimize life:
- Stay focused always on the BIG picture, always taking the long view.
- Failure and disappointment are directly proportional to the size of our dreams and pursuits.
- Truly, if it doesn't kill us it will make us stronger.
- Reflection and correction are powerful tools, to be used daily.
- Discipline and hard work are what counts; potential is virtually meaningless.
- Seek and apply the advice of wise and accomplished role models; ignore criticisms of the puny.
- Share what we learn from our failures with others; it helps us clarify antecedents and prospects.
- Positive and supportive relationships are what sustains us during the darkest times.
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