Perseverance In the Face of Adversity Is the Sign Of True Success

According to Dr. Catherine Chang and Dr. Katie To, how we deal with failure defines us more than the failure itself

By John Stanly


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While it may feel absolutely devastating, failure is primarily an opportunity for you to emerge stronger and attain tremendous success. According to both Dr. Catherine Chang and Dr. Katie To, how we deal with failure defines us more than the failure itself.

In the end, says Dr. Katie To, whatever tests our mettle also burnishes us, providing us a chance to shine brighter and rise higher. As Thomas Carlyle said, "Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."

What You Do in the Face of Failure is Very Important

Having spent a tremendous amount of your time and energy on something you care deeply about, it can be catastrophic to see it fall short of expectations and fail. While you may be right in feeling dejected about it, how you handle your failure and what you do next is not only very important but likely to define and shape your future life and work.

Dr. Catherine Chang asks you to look at it this way: those who are not failing are probably not pushing themselves hard enough, and those who are not pushing themselves hard enough may never succeed in the long run. Here are a few tips from both Dr. Catherine Chang & Dr. Katie To on how to persevere in the face of inevitable failure and live to tell the tale:

Assess and Learn: It would be nothing short of foolish to repeat the same mistakes and expect a different outcome. Learn from your mistakes and ask those hard questions to refrain from making the same mistakes in the future.

Do Not Dwell: Dr. Catherine Chang asks you to look back in history and learn that every significant achievement was preceded by failure. Overthinking about or analyzing it endlessly afterward will not accomplish anything productive.

Move Forward Quickly: Dr. Katie To's advice is to disassociate and detach yourself from the situation. Once you have learned sufficiently from your mistakes not to repeat them, you need to move on and continue to live your life, working toward your next goal.

Perseverance is one of those rare qualities that anyone can develop. And in this day and age, the importance of persevering is a virtue that is not extolled enough.

John Stanly

Start-up mentor

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