It would be easy to view Henry Ford as one of life’s bigger successes. Although he didn’t actually invent either the automobile or the assembly line, he certainly popularised them both in starting the hugely important Ford Motor Company.
What many forget, however, is that Mr Ford started a string of other businesses before launching the eponymous motor company.
They all failed. Each and every one. In fact Henry Ford was completely broke five times during the years before he started making and selling motor cars.
It’s too late to ask him of course, but I’m pretty sure one of the keys to his eventual success was that he viewed his setbacks as only temporary rather than permanent.
And I think that’s such an important lesson for both you and I when it comes to bouncing back if things go wrong. I say ‘if’, of course, but the simple truth is that it’s ‘when’ not ‘if’. There will always be setbacks. Life’s path is rarely straightforward and we’ll invariably have to deal with obstacles and problems – and almost certainly failure at times.
If you fail an examination, or get fired from your job, or find your relationship has fallen apart, it’s easy to see the situation as permanent and somehow terminal.
Look back at your past life, however, and you’ll almost certainly recall times when you overcame other challenges which at the time seemed crashingly life-changing.
What happened was that, even though you may not have foreseen it, you moved on. You recovered.
Surely what has happened once can happen again? And if you’ve somehow dealt with, and moved on from, more than one big setback in the past – then surely that’s even better evidence of your recovery experience?
Maybe when something goes wrong the trick is to accept that it’s not good, but to then remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’.
Even the scariest setback can be a lot less troubling when you see it as something to get over, rather than something to permanently halt you in your tracks.