How Do You Handle Setbacks?

As many of you that read my blog know, I have a lot of contact with people that are on the journey of success. This gives me a great window to view how people react to failures. What has become very evident is that the way a person views his failures will ultimately determine his overall success. I have seen it both ways. I have seen the person who gets knocked down again and again but continues to get back up and fight for his victory. And I have also seen the person who doesn’t get knocked down but gives in to failure anyway because it looks like he is going to get knocked down. If you can take a hard look at how you view failures and get back up every time, then success is yours. As I talk about this, do not take this as me looking down on people who have failed. I know that the majority of people have never been taught the principles of success. I failed for 28 years of my life until I was exposed to the LIFE business and my mentor Orrin Woodward. That is why we need to talk about it, so we can learn to view it through the correct lens.

If a study was done of homeless people, I can assure you that we could find a person that endured the same circumstances and succeeded. Some had their spouse leave them, some lost their jobs, others made bad investments, and some fell into addictions. (The interesting part of my life is that I have personally seen all of these within my own family.) Instead of adjusting a behavior, making sacrifices, or fighting back, they just gave up. The successful person makes the necessary adjustments and moves forward. Hopefully, you have seen the movie Cinderella Man. It is one of the best examples of what I just explained. A down-and-out boxer goes through the Depression and loses everything. While many people around him gave up, he continued to fight for his family and eventually became the heavy-weight champion of the world.

When you take a shot, how do you react? Do you fall down in self misery, do you get back up but are scared to take another shot, or do you do what success requires? Get back up and move forward with even more conviction. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean you just bounce back up like a weeble-wobble and don’t feel the effects of the blow. I mean you gather yourself, look at what just happened, figure out what adjustments need to be made, and then move forward again. The FAA is in charge of studying airline crashes to determine what adjustments need to happen within the airline industry. Imagine if they reacted like most of us do when crashes occur. “Sorry, we just don’t know what to do. We are giving up.” Air travel would be non-existent because the safety of flying would have never improved. I know someone is reading this and saying, “Well, of course, they have to do that; it’s important.” What I would say to you is: “Aren’t your life and the lives of your family members more important?”

So what do we do? When we hit the TAR (things are rough), we need to be ready mentally. First, remember that just like with a plane crash, you can salvage something from every crash that will help you improve. Determine what caused the failure, put in a system to fix it, and move forward. Your plan might not be the total answer, but it will move you forward enough to determine the next piece of the puzzle. Albert Hubbard says, “A failure is a man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience.” Second, be persistent. Most people don’t ever get to the lesson they need to learn because they are not persistent or willing to fail enough to get to the heart of the issue. Remember what the famous poet Rocky Balboa said: “It’s not how hard you can hit; it’s how hard can you GET HIT, get back up, and keep moving forward.” Third, recognize that you get what you picture. When you get knocked down and all you see is the negative, then that is what you will get from that lesson. If you take a second, give your head a shake, and continue to look at victory, then that is what you will get.

 Bill Lewis



71 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Setbacks?”

  1. I love the three points you made at the end Bill:
    1) Salvage the crash – take out what you learned and move on
    2) Be persistent – if you don’t get back up how will you ever see the story unfold?!
    3) Picture it – you have to believe it and dream it if you want it to unfold!

    Great post Bill!

  2. Thanks Bill. Great article. This is like the art of failure (sounds like a good book title). We all know the science of failure, meaning the steps we took to fail, or the thing that happened to us. The art is to learn from it, keeping the best attitude we can, and moving forward. Thanks again.

  3. Nice article, is there a way to shorten, the recovery time. I find myself dwelling too long on the failure, and not reframing fast enough.

  4. Great article Bill. Sometimes we forget everyone has problems. Like the old quote” Every mule thinks his load is the heaviest”. I love that we have you to help us reframe our thoughts. Thanks for all you and Jackie do for us.

  5. “”If you can take a hard look at how you view failures and get back up every time, then success is yours.” Awesome! Thanks Bill!

  6. That is a great post Bill! It’s all about perspective and how we view our set of circumstances. It’s a great reminder for me to keep my eye on the prize!

  7. Thank you for those encouraging words Bill. That is exactly what I needed to hear/read today….and I keep reminding myself that when something bad happens we have three choices…we can let it Defeat us, let it Define us, or we can let it Strengthen us. I choose to be strengthened!
    So again thank you.

  8. Great article Bill! It is easier said than done to continually move forward and learn from our failures but if that is what it takes to be successful, than the hungry people will do it

  9. I love the analogy of the plane crash. Many of life’s miseries may seem like a fatal crash, but it is our taking pieces of the wreckage, and learning from them that makes us stronger. There are so many vital lessons that can be learned from our valuable leaders in the LIFE business, that will help us to create our own personal success stories. Thanks, Bill!


  10. Hey Bill, thanks for the great article! You definitely helped me with perspective on some things I am going through. God bless

  11. Great post Bill! This is not only true in business but I was reminded of a different area in my life that I need to apply the same thinking. Thanks again!

  12. Great post Bill! Thanks for sharing and reminding us how to handle setbacks if we are to be succeed at what we want in life!

  13. Great article. Bill really breaks down how you achieve success by over coming set backs by staying focused on three basic steps. These three steps are very easy to follow and once you master them, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your dreams.

  14. I love this article Bill…it reminds me in all facets of my life, I will continue to make mistakes. I have a choice to either learn from it and move on or sit in it, never knowing what could have been accomplished. Thanks for all you do and how you teach!!! I’m always learning 🙂

  15. What a GREAT article. We are in the midst of a failure and have seen many through this, but although I keep getting back up, I’m not so sure I change all the things I need to change. Insanity sometimes creeps in (doing the same things over and over) and I’m really realizing that now. DUH! Thanks for putting in this in a good perspective AGAIN. Just like listening to cd’s; I need to do it over and over and over again (the same ones many times).
    Thanks again!

  16. THis is so true.I love your example about the relationship between the FAA and airplanes.You’re a true servant leader and I’m grateful to be assosiated with you

  17. I love the topic of this post!! What a great read — well put! Everyone would do good to read this, even if you already know the principle! Thanks!!!

  18. Bill what an awesome encouraging blog! Its always good to be reminded that one is on the right track to success if you keep your thinking right in the down turns.

  19. Thanks for this post Bill. I was one of the people that used to fail and not get back up. But because of the Life information and a great community I have learned to get back up and never quit.

  20. That was amazing. Wow that was good! It reminds me of this lesson I learned lately: “Yes, it doesn’t take a lot of faith to move a mountain, (as a mustard seed amount will do.) But, it does take sustained faith to move a mountain.” 🙂

  21. Thank you for this article Bill it gave me a way to look at my own set backs and has giving me the spur I need to get my mind thinking the right way.

  22. Great post!! I love the “TAR” (things are rough). Tough brings strength if we choose to grow from it. Thanks for being that great example.

  23. Bill,
    This is a very hard lesson for all of us in life.. Depending on our back gorund, tells how fast we can recover from our setbacks. The LIFE business has helped me to reover so much faster from setbacks or just negative thinking period. I am determined to spread the word to the world on what we can do to help others achieve what we oursleves have. Thank you for a great post.

  24. Bill,
    Thanks for the sound advice. This blog is one that everyone should have access to and read. I can think back through my life prior to getting involved with LIFE and the struggles I went through and I wish I could have had some sound advice like this to help me navigate those obstacles easier.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Tonya and Matt Bayne

  25. Bill,
    I see how you and Jackie and the Founders of this organization handle setbacks and struggle and I try to mirror our poise through situations. In the past I have been able to go from ok to orbit in 2seconds and through the leadership and tools available through LIFE my world has changed. People are people. Great article.

  26. Great article Bill, this an easy and enjoyable read that teaches success in its most basic or complex form. Please keep the information coming, the world needs it as I do.

  27. Bill,
    I’ve read somewhere that success is ones ability to fail time after time with a good attitude!! The key is having a mentor like yourself to encourage and expect excellence from the folks you are leading. Thanks for standing in the Gap!
    Love you man

  28. Bill,
    What a great article, Cinderella man just a great example. I am very thankful for the LIFE family and tools to encourage me to get back up. Throughout my journey in life, I have learned that there will be many tests and trials along the way.. but If we endure to the end we will receive the victory.

  29. What a fantastic way of describing how personal growth works. Life challenges are the only path to success. Wow!! Narrow is the way.

  30. Great Post Bill! We are truly blessed to follow amazing people like you and Jackie and others within LIFE. I believe that failure is a decision, and so is winning! This is just a great reminder that re-framing our thoughts is important on the road to success! Thanks again!

  31. Great article, Bill. Kristi is right, you and the other founders of LIFE are amazing examples for us to follow when the setbacks come. Thanks.

  32. Bill,

    I don’t think you could have made this principle any clearer. It’s not always the man or woman who is the strongest or most talented who wins in life, but the one who didn’t give up and figured out what they had to do to succeed.

    In Viktor Frankel’s book Man’s Search for Meaning there are examples as you pointed out with the homeless, where people in the same situation made different decisions under the same circumstances and succeeded while others made chose to make the decisions to give up that caused them to fail or in the case of Viktor Frankel in the concentration camps to give up and die.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  33. Hey bill, you are a true inspiration, my wife and I have been in life since novemeber, I can’t begin to tell you how our lives have changed. We have gone through and are going through struggles, one of my favorite quotes from all the books and cds I’ve read and listened to is, “If god leads you to it, he will leads you through it.” I believe he is leading me and my wife to greatness. Thanks

  34. Great article, Bill. It really helps me understanding that I can recover from setbacks 🙂 Love it!

    Caesar Fernandez

  35. Bill, Fantastic article. True words to remember when set backs come. Resolve to get back up and keep moving forward.
    We can all use these reminders in Life
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks partner. I appreciate the comment but I have been blessed by so many things I just want to do my part to pass on insight from my angle of view. Stay Tuff!
      (yes to all critics I know I spelled it incorrectly, it was intentional)

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