How to Master Setbacks in Life? How to Become a Tumbler-Toy?

What is your approach towards life when it comes to so-called failures?

Do you know situations in life where you simply feel like you have failed completely, you haven’t scored in a way you would have envisioned? And you feel like “the winner takes it all” – and “the loser, is standing small”? I guess many of us have experienced such kind of setbacks in one way or another. And, frankly, I’ve been there many times in my life, too.

Mostly, success and failure are viewed to be the total opposites, as success is supposedly good and failure is bad. We have adopted paradigm of avoiding situations associated with failure as best as possible through social values taught to us by our families or society as a whole. In success and money driven cultures (like Germany, the United States or Italy), extrinsic success which can be displayed to others comes with a high social prestige. All Such cultures have, based on Geert Hofstede (the intercultural researcher of our times who developed the 6 dimension of culture), high scores in the masculine dimension which is an indicator for a society’s drive for competition, achievement and success.

Yet, success and “failure” are entangled and there is no real success without knowing how to master a setback and without knowing how to bounce back (like a tumbler-toy). Whether we can manage to get up again is generally determined by which thoughts are running through our minds.

What thoughts are running through your mind when life doesn’t treat you well?

Do you have the tendency to blame yourself or others for bad things that happen to you? Sometimes we have the tendency to do so. Maybe we also feel ashamed and not good enough. Usually, these thoughts are “old voices” which have accompanied us throughout our lives. These voices generally stem from parents, grandparents, teachers or even ex-partners. These kinds of voices make us feel unworthy or helpless etc. They are also what shape our opinion about ourselves and influence our judgement towards our surrounding.

When these thoughts dominate us, we are in a defense mode. They maneuver us into the role of a victim and thus make it harder for us to bounce back from set-backs. However, our goal should rather be to act like a tumbler-toy instead of acting like a victim. We should get up again and take on the role of a creator… Our goal should always be to learn from the past in order to change the future.

How to transform from victim to creator – and how to become a tumbler-toy?

Transforming from a victim into being a creator requires that you do NOT evaluate a challenging situation as a failure, and most importantly, that you do NOT punish yourself! Try to let go of these old voices which are pulling you down by:

  1. Recognizing them as what they are – old voices
  2. Acknowledging that the content of negative messages from your surroundings towards you tells more about them than about you
  3. Allowing yourself to say: Good bye (!) to these old voices and negative thoughts
  4. Deciding that from now on you will see “failure” as an opportunity to learn/ as a challenge which signals to you what you should be focusing on to realize what needs to change (e.g. your habits, your behavior in a certain situation, your relationship with yourself or your loved ones etc.). At this point, it is important to know: We can only change ourselves!Therefore, remember: “GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN. AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.” (Niebuhr)

Realizing that we can only change ourselves, any challenging situation holds the opportunity to carry us to the next level. Following and applying these 4 steps mentioned above will help you transform from a victim into a creator — step by step and day by day – thus, becoming a tumbler-toy which will get up again, again and again. ????

You are wellcome to share your experiences linked to this topic in the comments, down below. I am looking forward and curious to hear about you.