Dealing with Setbacks

Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 10, 2020

Dealing with setbacks. Failure. Sadness. Depressed man outside in the rain.

Setbacks are normal

Are you frustrated because a business you invested your time and money into imploded and there was nothing you could do about it? Or was it a set-target you were supposed to hit that failed? Or perhaps, it’s the case that you keep struggling to make life more reasonable and yet, the more you try, the more unrealistic it becomes?

Now you feel downcast and demoralized because you keep rising and falling as the current of life’s storm never cease to rock your boat? Of course, these experiences would have made you realize that the peregrination of life is chequered by vicissitudes. Yes, life is not all bed of roses and at certain times you are bound to face challenges which could occur as minor setbacks or even, as an overwhelming defeat. It is normal!

Hence, this piece has been aptly written to help you make the right decisions when you encounter setback in whatever aspect of your life. However, before we start, let’s see what setbacks are.

What are setbacks?

Setbacks are unpleasant situations which tend to impede on one’s chances at progress. Usually, setbacks serve as a clog in the wheel to slow you down or to totally demoralize you from getting a project done or attaining success. It is a process that is normally associated with success as there is no jolly ride to progress. Though, setbacks are conceived as somewhat bad, they are quite good in that, they serve as tests on the path to progress. Setbacks are meant to test your level of resilience and your ability to find your focus again when you lose it.

One could experience setback in any aspect of one’s life. It could be financial – for instance when your invest part of your cash on something that failed to fructify; marital – maybe your inability to sometimes come to terms with your spouse and tolerate them; or career associated – where you are keep struggling to get to where you ought to be. It could also be experienced at the workplace – where maybe, a project didn’t go as you’d plan it or one of your VIP employees jilts your company at a time when you need them the most leaving your business to suffer.

Interestingly, there are no successful persons today who wouldn’t have stories to tell about what they suffered while on the path to success. Everyone is quite familiar with Steve Job’s story of how he raised the apple company from nothing to what it is today. The Bill Gates, Ali Baba and Mark Zuckerberg’s stories are no exception too.

How to Deal with Setbacks

Now, what you do at this crucial period matters a lot. When the storm comes knocking on your door, do you cower, crumble and chicken out? Or do you get up on your feet and try again? Whatever decision you make leaves a life-long imprint on you. You wouldn’t want to spend the rest of your life biting your nails in regret because you failed to stand up to life’s challenge. The following would help you deal with setback when faced with one.

Accept it

What has happened has happened and there’s no undoing it. Reflect on it; acknowledge it, get yourself back together; and, quit blaming yourself or recriminating on others.

As Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life aptly pointed out “you need the peak and the valley in order to keep moving forward, there is never a straight line.” Thus, come to terms with what has happened; believe it now belongs in the past; pretend it never happened and move on. When you do this, getting back up becomes inevitable.

Re-discover your determination

Something had spurred you to embark on that project which has now met a temporary setback in the first place. Perhaps, it’s the desire to hit a bigger target, the need to attain higher financial prosperity or the desire for self-actualization. Whatever it is, you must re-discover it and get back your focus. Remember, determination plus hardwork is what leads to success.


If you are back at where you started, it only means one thing – your strategy didn’t work out. Now, you have to re-strategize. First, reflect – observe what had gone wrong, what you did and didn’t do right. Then, come up with insights that take those loopholes into consideration and aptly address them.

Anticipate setbacks

Why most people are badly hit by obstacles is because they never anticipated it. They never put setbacks into consideration when planning. Sometimes, the ego in some makes them see their plan as perfect. They then become demoralized because they never anticipated the present reality. Hence, it is important that when planning, you put into consideration likely loopholes in the plan that could turn out to become setbacks. Develop the mindset to always anticipate setbacks. As such, when it comes, it will never overwhelm you.

Reach out for help

You need people as there’s no “do it all.” Now, when you find yourself at that point, it’s not bad to ask for help. Reach out to your pals and associates; ask for a raise, seek for counsel. You’d be better off in the end.

In conclusion, it must be pointed out that standing up to setbacks takes courage. You have to be intentional about it.

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