By Jashmin Tandukar

Does it seem like, despite our best efforts, things never work out as we planned? Are you in despair because just when it seems you are making progress something goes wrong? At such times it is easy to feel defeated and to give up, but what can we do to stay on top of things?

It is a fact of life that despite all our best efforts at planning, strategizing, and being careful not to make mistakes, some things will go wrong sometimes. Even so, we determine what happens after a setback. There are in essence two basic mindsets when it comes to dealing with setbacks. One is the mindset of a pessimist, and the other is one of an optimist. There are some differences in the way a pessimist and an optimist view a problem.

The first is that the optimist will see a setback as being temporary, whereas the pessimist will view it as permanent. The saying goes, “Never make a permanent decision based on temporary circumstances.” The pessimist will do just that. Rather than recognize the problem as being confined in time and able to be resolved, they see it as insurmountable and lasting. The optimist will see the event as being limited in time with little or no real impact on the future.

The second difference is how the pessimist and the optimist will view a setback in terms of scope and effect. The pessimist tends to regard a bad event or outcome as being pervasive and affecting everything around them. Just because they made a loss on one business decision they will feel that their entire business is not working and is a bad investment, when the truth is that only one deal went wrong. The optimist is able to isolate a bad event and its effects and to treat it as just a bad event that does not affect everything else in their life.

Third, the pessimist will view a setback as having an internal or personal origin. A bad turn of events is regarded by such a person as having been caused by some flaw or shortcoming in their own character. The optimist takes the healthy view that the event is external to them and not necessarily caused by them. They realize that there is probably nothing they could have done personally to prevent what happened. Clarity of mind cannot be there if we see ourselves as part of the problem. Without clarity of mind we will not overcome the setback easily.

Fourth, and most importantly, the optimist knows that, although they had no control over what happened, they have the power to influence or determine the outcome. This is what determines whether you rise again after you fall or stay on your belly and mourn endlessly.

Our attitude when things go wrong is ultimately more important than the event itself and is what will determine if the outcome will be positive or negative. If we have been defeated by a negative attitude towards setbacks, we should not lose hope. Admitting our mistakes is the first step to correcting them. A positive attitude can be learned and developed. It is a matter of choice. We can make the choice, whenever faced with a difficulty to look at it form an optimistic point of view rather than a pessimistic one. Whenever we are faced with a setback we should ask ourselves what we could do to turn it around and think how we can benefit from the setback. We will realize that there is nothing so bad we cannot use it for some good and that there is no situation that is totally hopeless.

I believe that no situation is ever hopeless. Anything can be turned around as long as we have breath in us. There is a cliché, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” We may need a helping hand, but ultimately only we can make a lasting difference in our own life. Treating people like they cannot help themselves leads them to do just that. They become disempowered, hopeless, and dependent. Action is what will bring our dreams to reality. Nothing just happens; we have to make it happen. So, never quit!