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Dealing with Failure

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Hi, I have suffered a lot of failures back to back in a short space of time (3 years). I now feel hopeless. I am lost and my life is drifting. I would like to know what practical steps I can take to re-engage with the world and to form dreams/goals again and to start trying to achieve them.

I had a great job and life but I had to give it all up to relocate half way across the world to take care of my sick mother. I then applied for the same types of jobs but for 2 years and was not successful. I sometimes came close, excelled all the entrance exams but was not selected in the final round. I now work in a different field. I am unhappy as I want to get back to what I was doing. As its a very competitive industry based more on who you know rather than what, I need to do a lot of networking and improve my confidence. I know what I need to do. I just don’t have the will to do it any more or care enough about my life to even try.

There is nothing lacking in my life and when I start doubting my abilities a voice inside me says you did it before and you can again, which is reinforced by my friends. But a louder voice says, what makes you think things will be different again.. things won’t improve and I just don’t feel like trying.

After a lot of self analysis I have come to the realization that I have lost hope and this is based on the failures — not really fear of failure — but I don’t have any hope that I will succeed and my confidence has been eroded (I know I can do the job, I just get really nervous and tongue tied- I think its more to do with being judged).

How do you improve my confidence and better cope with being judged/put on the spot?

How do I reframe my failures so I can believe there could be a different outcome and begin to build hope?

Dealing with Failure

Answered by on -


You made the choice to move home to take care of your mother. Had you not moved home there would have been consequences. Moving home has had consequences. You cannot control or choose the consequences of an action. You cannot overeat and not gain weight. You can’t spend $10 to watch a movie, and then have that same $10 in your wallet. With choices come consequences.

Moving home meant you could help your mother. It also meant that you would be giving up the job that you held. Many of the opportunities that were available to you in your old location obviously would not be available to you halfway around the world in a completely different location. It was best for you and the life that you had worked for and achieved, to stay on the opposite side of the world from your mother. However, you could not help your mother from the other side of the world. You had a hard choice to make and you made it. It may or may not have been the right choice. Regardless of the correctness of your choice, you are now left living in a new environment on the other side of the world.

You will have new opportunities living in a new environment. It is up to you to readjust to the new environment, the new culture, and find ways to live and succeed in that new environment.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle that you face is holding onto an old way of existing and attempting to apply the old system to the new environment. You succeeded in the old environment and that would indicate that you could succeed in the new environment. It is important to recognize that we are talking about success and not about your old career. It appears that success in your old career is no longer possible. That does not mean that success and happiness and a meaningful life is not possible in the new world in which you live. Your past success can be seen as an ability to succeed, not just succeed in a particular career.

You chose to move halfway around the world to care for your mother. This may or may not have been the right choice. Perhaps you should’ve stayed in your old world and career. Certainly that would’ve been best for your career goals. However, it may not have been good for you emotionally. Perhaps it was impossible for you to leave your mother wanting for the type of care and attention that you could have provided.

You chose to move halfway around the world to care for your mother. You can choose to move back to your old location and job opportunities. Some choices are irreversible. Some are not.

If you choose to stay and continue to care for your mother, you must recognize that the old ways of thinking need to be modified to suit the new environment and job market. I have no way of knowing this but perhaps the right choice, if in reality it was a choice at all, would have been for your mother to move to your location where you could have cared for her.

My best advice to you, if you are choosing to stay at your mother’s location, is to give up completely your old way of thinking about a particular career and develop a completely fresh look at your current environment and with that fresh look develop a plan to succeed in that environment. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Dealing with Failure

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Dealing with Failure. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 16 May 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.