How to Deal with Failure

Post-results week can be a relief for some, disastrous for others, or somewhere in between.

We all face failure at some point in our lives. Whether from our own mistakes or unforeseen events, it's easy to immediately blame ourselves - a dangerous idea for obvious reasons. With this said, here is some advice for dealing with failure.

Don't compare yourselves to others.

Comparison kills. Yes, you are sometimes responsible for your own mistakes. But they are your own - not for others to judge. You are not valued for what others perceive of you. This is especially hard to remember when other people witness your failures. But, honestly, people don't care! They'll move on after 2 seconds and forget after 2 minutes.


Don't make it personal.

You are not your mistakes, and you most certainly are not a failure. Separate your identity from the situation and this will help you reflect on your mistakes without blurring the distinctions of your failure and yourself. Failure is not a reflection of your self worth. The sooner you realise this, the quicker and easier it will be to move on from your mistakes.


Learn from your mistakes.

Make a mental note of what you did wrong, and how to never make that mistake again. Personally, it takes repetition for me to learn, and I usually make the same mistake 3 or 4 times before I make it right. So don't be afraid to make the same mistake again if you know it'll take you time to learn. Own it, repeat it, and fix it.

Use failure as your motivator.

I currently have a folder in my email inbox labelled ‘Job Search’, and I archive all of my graduate job search-related emails in there. Right now, it's a graveyard of 20+ rejections. It's depressing to even write about. When I go through the folder, it's so hard to scroll down and think ‘there's a company out there who's going to hire me,’ yet the sight of so many rejections makes me want to find a job even more desperately. Focus less on the looming cloud of failure, and more on the little bit of hope you know you still have in you. The more you embrace failure, the more you'll see it as a good thing; that it is a requirement for progress.


Don't let fear of failure hold you back.

What's the worst that could happen? How can you prevent it from happening? Every failure is another step to success. Don't be afraid to fail if you know that you will learn from those mistakes. The next time an opportunity arises, grasp it with both hands, and shake it vigorously, until all of your fears fly off it and you know you have nothing to worry about. You will never be worse off for trying, the worst that could happen is that you experience personal growth, which is what university is all about!

I hope these small pieces of advice help.

If you’d like more guidance with how to deal with failure, remember that there is always the University’s Counselling Service to help.