Bracing For Failure
Ever noticed before a flight take-off, the air host/ess makes that essential presentation on what is to be done for a seamless flight and in case of a turbulent one? Even within the safest aircraft, that seemingly repetitive but significant routine prepares passengers for any possible eventualities. With a flight mishap probable, such pre-flight drills illustrate how we should attend to the certainty of life’s vicissitudes — successes and failures.
However, presentations on succeeding in life is a mainstay of most motivational speakers and life coaches. While preparing to succeed in life is crucial — mine would be the ‘messianic’ message of ‘your life’s blueprint’ by MLK — such skew suggests an erroneous notion of life as one without failure or ill-prepares subscribers for times of failure. More so, the pandemic has worsened these moments of failure, such as financial losses, disappointments, and discrimination.
Failure remains a vicissitude of life, and the natural oscillation between failure (downs) and success (ups) is indicative of life — similar to the electrical pulses of a heartbeat. More so, skating quickly and recovering stronger through the ‘downs’ while reaping those vital skills therein — a turbulent sea makes a skilled sailor — is in itself a success. Thus, failure to prepare for moments of failure readily plunges and locks victims into a deeper ‘down’.
Some blueprints one requires for preparing for those curved balls or out-of-the-blue moments of failures in life are:
1. Have a short-philosophy: The unexpected news or experiences of failure can set the body system out of balance, especially our mental health. An instant regulation of our emotions and mood using a short-philosophy or phrase such as ‘all is well’, ‘whatever will be; will be’, ‘it is what; it is’, and ‘no worries’ or talking to yourself in the third person acts as a buffer to unexpected news or experiences and permits the mind to levitate and steers the body towards balance. Some people accompany the repetition of these phrases with rhythmic stroking of the heart or pacing/rocking back and forth to relieve the failure induced anxiety. These methods also work by calming the heart and forcing the release of ethereal neurotransmitters as a first-aid measure.
2. Hack the neurotransmitters: while tip 1 acts as a first-aid, especially following a curved-ball moment of failure, exploring the role of the body’s biological chemicals may improve results and provide sustained benefits. Hacking into one or more of our bodies neurotransmitters is a form of brain modulation that is non-pharmacological and without side effects. One such neurotransmitter is serotonin — the mood–mediating one. Volunteering or helping people going through a tougher times than us seems to be most effective in getting those serotonin. Serotonin is considered emblematic of true happiness, long-lasting, ethereal, inspires giving, requires sharing, and the brain can interpret such hacking as ‘this feels good, and it is enough’.
3. Sleep on it: The consumption of most synthetic chemicals following the experience of failures helps lessens the impact but robs the body of good quality sleep. Sleep strips us of the traumatic emotions attached to the experiences of failure. Over time one becomes less traumatized by such memory and can make cognitive decisions and creativity using the experience. Thus, it is not just ‘time’ that heals a failed experience, fears, post-traumatic stress disorder but good quality sleep. As with tips 1 and 2, ethereal neurotransmitters such as serotonin helps access that sleep that becomes elusive during moments of failure. Some indices of a good sleep are nights of pleasant dreams and feelings of refresh on waking.
These three tips are not all the blueprints for preparing for life’s moment of failure that people may employ. Several others, such as exercise, dance, singing or playing a musical instrument, are also beneficial towards bracing for the impact of failures. With life never being a crystal stair of success, being prepared for failure permits us to rise quickly and resiliently from the ashes of failure and like the legendary phoenix bird, that in itself is a success.