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Tips for fearlessly facing failure, dealing with disappointment

The word "failure" has many negative connotations surrounding it. 

But it is not failure that separates achievers from those who don’t achieve. It’s the way an individual chooses to react to the disappointments in their life. If they maintain hope, that contributes to their achievements or lack thereof. 

From an early age, it's instilled in us to aim high. In school we are told if we shoot for the moon and miss, we'll land among the stars. As a result, many of us grow up with our sights set high. 

Maybe we want to be athletes, astronauts or actors. These expectations set on us can be positive or negative depending on how realistic they are, and whether they align with our own desires for ourselves. These expectations can stem from many places such as family, friends or society at large. A lot of the time they're subconsciously present.

Having high hopes can be beneficial for us because they push us to utilize our maximum potential. Hope has many positive health benefits, including greater happiness, better academic achievements and even lower risk of death, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). 

An interesting thing to note is that hope can lower depression and anxiety, but symptoms of anxiety and depression have no effect on the future levels of hope. The APA also mentions that one’s level of hope does not correlate to one's IQ or income.

But disappointment in life is inevitable, especially when you do aim high. We’ve all been there dealing with it, and disappointment has the ability to manifest in many different forms. Maybe it's a failed project or midterm, or maybe a failed relationship. 

No matter what you do in life, failure will occur. On top of all the unavoidable failures of just merely existing, if you're someone who puts yourself out there, you will get to experience even more failures and disappointments! But it's still important to remember to bounce back from disappointment and stay hopeful.

Someone who embodies the characteristics of relentlessly hoping high and overcoming disappointments and failures is Elon Musk. He’s one of the busiest achievers of our time. He's the founder of PayPal, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company and the co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI.

But these are just his fancy titles. What's not talked about as often are his disappointments. Musk has faced struggles many times over the course of his life. 

He was bullied as a kid, and even hospitalized for it once when the bullies threw him down the stairs and made him lose consciousness. On top of personal struggles, a whole infographic exists of his business failures. He has been ousted from Zip2 and PayPal, his own companies. 

PayPal was voted one of the worst business ideas. He has blown up his own rockets due to launch failures. Tesla and SpaceX have been on the brink of bankruptcy before.

Needless to say, Musk has come to develop an interesting perspective on mindset. Some tips Musk provides to optimize your mindset from his Forbes interview are to continue to educate yourself, take risks while you're young and build a feedback loop. My favorite tip is to create instead of complain. 

While everyone may not be Musk, everyone can incorporate his tips. Also, we can learn to deal with disappointments through utilizing positive coping styles. 

The different ways individuals go about dealing with disappointments are coping styles. Coping styles help with overcoming disappointments, but also more generally with changes and stressful situations in life. The University of California, Los Angeles’ Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior published an article on different coping methods people utilize. 

Some styles include utilizing humor to positively reframe a situation, seeking support from others and physical recreation to name a few. Some styles have the potential to turn harmful, such as through drug usage or isolation.

So no matter what disappointments you may come across in your life, always remember to keep your hopes high. Time is too precious to waste.

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