If you respond to setbacks in these 10 ways, you’re stronger than you think

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You might feel like you’re a weakling because you easily get emotional or you haven’t accomplished much in life.

But real strength is all about ATTITUDE and you might actually be stronger than you think.

Want to know if you’re actually one tough cookie?

Well you are if you respond to setbacks in these ways.

1) You see setbacks as just puzzles that need to be solved

You don’t immediately think that it’s the end of the world when something goes wrong. Instead, you take the time to calm down and figure out a new approach—a way of doing things differently.

You go “Hmm, well that didn’t work out. Bummer. What should I do this time around?” 

Problems to you are puzzles that simply need to be solved, and it’s only natural that not all attempts are going to work out.

So you try again and again, learning from your errors and trying to find out what you need to do differently in order to succeed.

2) You take the lead

You might be perfectly content to sit back when things are going well, but you have no issues with stepping up and taking initiative when there’s work that needs to be done.

If there are people who are clearly affected by your setbacks, you’re humble enough to apologize and comfort them.

And of course, you discuss your course of action with the people who need to hear it and delegate your tasks with the people who are suitable.

That is to say, you play the role of the leader when you must, which is important in times when things go far south.

3) You choose to see things positively

In other words, you have a healthy mindset.

You actively choose to believe that everything’s going in the right direction.

All the setbacks you encountered so far all had a purpose— whether that be to teach you something new, to push you into taking action, or to guide you to the correct path.

Because of this, you’re not desperate to achieve success immediately. You know that you’re going to get what you deserve in the end anyways.

There are those who will say that this isn’t actually true, but hey—you CHOOSE to believe it and that’s all that matters!

4) You let go of “what could have been”

Regrets? Sure, you have them. There’s nobody alive who is truly without regrets, after all. But you don’t allow them to have power over you.

Where others will hold on to anger and resentment over things that didn’t go right, you choose to let go.

As far as you’re concerned, dwelling on the past is simply going to be a waste of time and energy.

After all, why waste your energy on past failures and beating yourself over your mistakes when you can instead look forward to doing better in the future?

5) You use them as an opportunity to learn

Of course, it’s not like you choose to pretend your past mistakes never happened either. Doing that would be foolish, and result in you making the same mistakes again and again.

What you do instead is use your past errors as an opportunity to learn. 

You try to figure out where you went wrong and then figure out how you can avoid them from happening again.

So let’s say that you messed up a movie you were trying to shoot by hiring the cheapest actors you can, and ended up with a bunch of no-shows.

From that, you learn not to skimp on your actors and to be more careful with your contracts.

You apply everything you learn from your setbacks to ensure things get better—and they usually do.

6) You get frustrated but you don’t quit

It’s normal to get frustrated. What sets you apart from the rest is that no matter how frustrated you become, you choose to keep going.

You’re the kind of person who will never give up if you know that something is important and worth doing.

You might end up going through all of the plans you have prepared, but you’re not going to let that hold you back. You’ll improvise on the spot if you have to!

Anger, frustration, annoyance—these negative feelings are just feelings, and they’re part of what it means to be human. What’s important is that you choose to move forward, rather than let these feelings hold you back.

7) You use this time to pause and reflect

You don’t immediately scramble to set things right when something goes wrong. You know that doing that will only make things worse.

Instead you take the time to step back, take a deep breath, and reflect. 

You assess what you’ve done so far, if you’re still aligned with your goals, and what you should do differently.

They’re there to give you time to think: a.) Is this something I still want to do?; b.) Is this still the right approach?; c.) How can I make things better?

If you see it this way, setbacks are actually blessings in disguise. 

8) You plant other seeds

You’re not the kind of person who plants one seed and despairs when it withers. You make sure you plant several!

That is to say, you’re the kind of person who plants many different seeds all at the same time. 

So instead of just waiting out delays and hoping for things to get better, you get busy tending to the other plants. 

You get busy. 

You know not all of them will bear fruit, but in doing this you’re making sure that you’re always making progress of some kind.

9) You don’t take criticism personally

There will always be haters and nay-sayers around no matter what you do. 

You don’t even have to fail—you can do your tasks with flying colors and still there’ll be someone ready to throw criticism at you.

Some might simply insult you and lash out at you for having failed them. 

Others will give scathing advice thinking that they’re doing you a favor, and yet others will nitpick just because you didn’t do it their way.

No matter how harsh they are with their remarks on your setbacks, you’re graceful enough to just bow your head and not take their words personally.

As far as you’re concerned, criticism means that you’re doing something… at least and getting noticed for it. Setbacks and failure are a natural consequence of any kind of endeavor, after all.

10) You wear your setbacks as your badge of honor

You don’t hide your failures. You don’t see any shame in admitting that you made wrong moves in life.

If you used to be an assh*le in the past, you have no issues admitting that you were indeed one. So what? You’re no longer that person.

And when something you worked hard trying to achieve fails, you have no issues with accepting that fact and sharing your experience to others.

If nothing else, you’re proud of the fact that you tried.

So you hold your chin up even if you have setbacks. They don’t define who you are, anyway.

What defines you is how well you walk through the fire.

11) You believe nothing good gets away

I remember the letter of author John Steinbeck to his son

Near the end it says “Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

You have this kind of confidence in your fate too, too.

You do what you can but you don’t worry or freak out.

You know that if you just calmly solve things and work on your goals, one of two things will eventually happen: You’ll fail (in which case, it’s really meant to be), or you’ll succeed (again, really meant to be). 

So why worry? If it’s really for you, you’ll get it. It has no choice but to land on your feet.

12) You don’t catastrophize

In the event of setbacks, how you view things make or break your success.

If you panic and catastrophize, you’ll only end up paralyzed and unable to decide on a sound course of action.

So avoid catastrophizing as much as possible. It can only make things worse.

If you find your thoughts start to spiral, you immediately put a stop to it and detach until you’ve calmed down.

Do not make any decision until you’re emotionally settled.

Final thoughts

The secret to success is not in being immune to despair or anger, and neither is it in staying stoic in the face of setbacks. 

And most important of all, it’s not in avoiding failure entirely.

It’s in how you personally choose to act when you’re faced with setbacks, especially when those setbacks start coming at you one after the other.

True strength is found in being able to accept your failures, to laugh at your flaws, to admit your failings, and then to stand back up when the world knocks you down.

So cry and vent all you want! Feel bad about it all for a (short) while. It’s alright so long as you refuse to stay down.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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