When someone is met with failure after an important task, the typical response for them is to sulk and let it affect them the rest of the day, or maybe even longer.  This can be problematic for many reasons: lower work performance, inability to focus, or a depressed mood among other things.  Everyone is affected by failure in their life, failure is how you learn and eventually succeed in life.  People can either experience failure first hand after a dismal performance, or know someone who has failed at something as is letting it affect their mood and performance.  Whereas failure can affect people in different way, the bottom line is that it is something that needs to be gotten over.  Everyone fails, and everyone must get over it.

When dealing with someone who has failed at something, the most common approach is to try to make them realize it was only one time and they will have many more chances to succeed.  We try and point out the silver lining in the failure and want them to just forget about failing and move on.  When this is the natural reaction for almost everyone, think about how many times someone has taken that approach towards you failing at something and them trying to make  you feel better by pointing out the silver lining.  Then ask yourself how often it helps.  It may help occasionally for some of the smaller things, but when you fail at something important and are really down about it, do you really listen when someone tells you the upside.

An alternative to the silver lining approach to failure is the empathy approach.  Empathy is simply letting the person know you understand how they feel.  It essentially is you acting like you also failed at something.  What you say to someone when trying to show empathy is things such as, “I know it really is a bummer” or, “I know you really did work hard it’s just a real bummer it didn’t work out.”  When doing this you may not feel like you are helping the person or giving them encouragement, because you really aren’t.  You aren’t giving them a pick me up, you are simply letting them know they are not alone.  Empathy can be more useful than encouragement in some cases since being alone is a common fear among people, and the main goal of empathy is letting someone know they are not alone.

Here is a quote to keep in mind when you think your failure is setting you back: “Failure is on the path to success.”