Like death and taxes, failure is a constant part of life. These disappointments, however painful, are completely necessary because those upswings wouldn’t be nearly as sweet without these lows. I picture what I call the “craptastic” moments to be very much like the rebound in basketball, when you don’t score the points but the ball makes contact and there is potential for it to go in many different directions. The challenge is to not get lost in the self-doubt.
Failure makes you feel very small but after you have a drink or twenty, kiss a couple of boys and stay in bed for a few days, it’s time to just get on with it. This is the point when I start to retrace my steps. I evaluate my actions and try to find the point when it began to go awry. Funnily enough, the feeling of shock from falling on your face starts to lessen precisely when you wonder how you didn’t see it coming. This also helps to contextualize it as a part of your history, literally a blip on the radar when things weren’t so great. It is here that you have to put the feelings of lack or worthlessness aside because you are neither of those things. Failure is not an inherent part of who you are, it’s just a part of the story.
Plus, we garner hope in the fact that there is always something to do. Whether it’s getting yourself out of your pajamas or building up the courage to start on your next endeavour, they are steps to healing and preparing to try again. Writer Calvin Trillin always emphasizes that faltering is an inevitable part of being human. It’s the grace with which you pull yourself together that matters. When you get past all of the Vince Vaughan and vegas, baby, vegas, the film Swingers actually suggests a similar approach to returning to the living. Jon Favreau is mourning the end of a long-term relationship and when Ron Livingston comes to visit he not only brings him a sandwich but some advice. You want to feel it? Sure, go right ahead. But with every day that passes, the hurt will marginally shrink till one day it will be gone. It’s true you know, time is everyone’s contingency plan. Better luck next time. No, seriously, you might have better luck next time.