There’s an old adage that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So it is with our failures. Unless we learn from our mistakes, we are likely to repeat them until we learn from such experiences and correct our course — or give up and accept temporary defeat as permanent failure. Every setback you encounter in life contains valuable information that, if you study it carefully, will eventually lead you to success. Without adversity, you would never develop wisdom, and without wisdom, success would be short-lived indeed. When you make a mistake, say, “That’s good! I’ve gotten that out of the way. I will never do that again.” You will no doubt make other mistakes, but they won’t bother you nearly as much when you treat them as learning experiences.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” It’s easy when you are part of a group to “go along to get along,” but when you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity — regardless of what others may do — you are destined for greatness. When you have developed a carefully thought out code of personal conduct, you will never have to ask anyone else what the appropriate course of action should be. You will intuitively know.
There are few things in life that are as bad as they seem at first. Dealing with adversity begins with analyzing and accepting your situation for what it is. When you realize that things are not nearly as bad as they might have been, you have taken the first step toward working your way through the problem. It is a truism that you will never be asked to carry a heavier load than you can bear, but it sometimes helps you better appreciate that fact if you volunteer some of your time to help those who are less fortunate than you are.