Dealing with Life's Letdowns
IT'S ALL MIND OVER MATTER IN HANDLING FAILURE GRACEFULLY
- By Craig Outhier
"FAILURES," WROTE THE FAMED thinker
and author C.S. Lewis, "are finger posts on the road to
achievement." Admittedly, it was not his most
revolutionary insight. The we-must-fail-to-achieve platitude has
been around as long as failure itself. It's a well-trod sentiment
that we know intuitively to be true, but one that can also prove
inadequate in the face of a lost job, a painful breakup, a botched
free throw in the closing seconds of an internationally televised
NBA championship game, or any tangible failure that makes us feel
as if we have a large capital "L" stamped on our
Confronting life's disappointments in a productive and positive
way is more labor-intensive than recalling comforting adages, says
Peter Winslow, a counselor in Scottsdale, Ariz., who describes
himself as a "breakthrough coach."
Defusing loss requires people to preemptively create
"positive ground" in their daily lives.
Winslow uses a threepronged approach to mind, body and soul.
"I start with helping people develop healthy fitness
habits," he says. "Then,
there's the spiritual aspect-acts of kindness and karma-enhancers.
Things that make people feel good about themselves."
Winslow also counsels about daily meditation-not the lotus
position-style meditation, necessarily, but quiet moments of re
ection and pure being. "It could be as simple as
standing in the shower and letting the water beat down on your
back," he says. "It's about opening
yourself to quiet space." With these pillars of
wellness in place, a person can bear much in the way of loss and
disappointment. "I find that people forget to take care
of themselves," Winslow says. "People get
in the mind-set of taking care of their kids or their boss. But
before you do that, you have to be an effective manager of
"You have to trust that everything
serves," Winslow says. "Even things that
seem like disasters in some way serve us."