How to Stay Content and Overcome Failure


Contentment, happiness, and joy are our birthright. Though rarely does life align perfectly to support this posture.

Bad things happen, unexpected events occur, and we fail to achieve the results we were hoping for. These types of moments leave us filled with uncertainty and doubt, and distract us from our greater purpose. We get out of balance and it can be tough to get re-centered.

At these times, finding contentment and remaining optimistic is the key. When we are content we can remain in a place of spiritual harmony. This doesn’t mean we are complaisant and accepting of our circumstances, but we are able to remain in a positive state of mind while we persevere and reevaluate what can be done.

Learning to change the way we perceive things, and making changes in our circumstances will be an ongoing process requiring practice and dedication. There are certain principles that can help us keep our attitude and perspective focused in the right direction. Practice building these qualities, skills, and traits for those frustrating and challenging times.

Go through the list below and select the tenets that you feel would help fortify and uplift your spirit.

Give yourself a pep-talk

Sometimes we will be down and need to remind ourselves of our accomplishments and  positive qualities. Consider any word that applies to your strengths, and tell yourself, “I am consistently…..” For instance, “I am consistently a hard worker, thoughtful of others, and optimistic about the future.”

You can also find a prayer, affirmation, or meditation that you connect with to use as a foundation for your thinking. Regardless, remain aware of the potential need to focus on what you have accomplished and the strengths you possess.

Mine the moment

Do something interesting and fun and forget the damn past. Make the most of now and the future. The past can’t be changed, so accept what you cannot change. There are no do-over’s in life. What’s done is done, so be focused on the present and where it can take you.

Modest goals

Recognize everyday successes. Learn to be as effective and efficient as you can each and every day, and respect yourself for the small successes you achieve. Big success will emerge in the long-run if you do the best you can every day. Keep pushing onward making small steps along the way.

Take a Daily Vacation

Vacations can be real or imagined. The power of visualization is often viewed in connection with manifesting our desires; however we can also use it in a very practical way to distract ourselves from our current stressors.

Go to your “happy place” in your mind to take a break from the turmoil around you. Or, find an actual place that can serve as you sanctuary where you can relax and reflect.

Feed the soul

What is your divine purpose? No matter what we fail at, it’s not the culmination of our greater purpose for being in the world. When you experience failure or challenges, connect with a spiritual source. A spiritual life deserves consideration by any of us interested in boosting our happiness or contentment.

The Dalai Lama, speculates in the Art of Happiness that we should have as many religions as people in the world because all of us have different personalities and spiritual needs. Find some way to feed your soul and be inspired.

Practice compassion

When we can shift to a more compassionate frame of mind it allows us to transcend our personal ego and begin cultivating loving-kindness for ourselves and others. We all make mistakes, so hate the act not the person when a mistake is made. To help you keep a positive outlook, practice self-acceptance and wish others great success.

Be Your Own Guru

Be your own person and don’t worry about what other people think. You make the final decision about what to think and what to do in a situation. Don’t let other peoples’ small thinking discourage you, and if you are seeking advice, get it from trusted and wise mentors who believe in your potential and thrive from helping others grow.

Find a relaxation ritual

We all have a calming response we can use to deal with stressful situations. Whether this is mindful breathing, exercise, going from a walk in nature, or creating art, uncover your “relaxation ritual.” When you begin to worry, ruminate, and fret, go to your relaxation ritual as a means to get centered.

Do the Right Thing

Even in moments of distress we have the ability for self-control, though many times when we are under stress we turn to unhealthy habits to cope. In the long-run this only makes things worse. We might feel guilty and even more regretful afterwards. Always seek to do the decent thing and begin building yourself back up.

Expect the Unexpected

How often do things go exactly as you expected them to? Not often right? Crap happens. Sometimes we have to face the music and deal with problems, or we have to be flexible and take a different approach than we anticipated. Keep this in mind so unexpected outcomes won’t throw you too far off course.

Take a Stand

One of the biggest struggles in dealing with failure is moving past it. We can feel stuck and unsure of what to do. In these cases just doing something is a major improvement. Commit one way or the other and get off the fence. Take action when you feel down and begin gaining momentum.

Which of these ideas will help you get back in alignment with your purpose and help you persevere to reach your goal?

Despite our best efforts we will encounter situations, people, and places that set us off balance and down a misguided path. Fortunately, persevering through these moments in life is the exact thing needed to achieve growth and expand as a person.

Making a comeback and getting up after we have been knocked down is what builds character. If you’re experiencing this in your life right now, it’s time for a comeback.

My Connection

This is where I provide my personal connection to the ideas in the post. I hope you will join the conversation by leaving a comment, and offering your personal connection to these ideas as well.

I know I write a lot about happiness and well-being. It’s a topic I’m passionate about and I believe we should dedicate our time and energy to it, though I am learning that there are times when happiness is not the goal, but the goal is instead to find contentment and satisfaction amidst hardship or suffering.

For me personally, this post stems from being in a place of discontent recently. I have felt a little out of alignment with my purpose and because of this have been losing enthusiasm and motivation. These seasons emerge in my life occasionally when I am under stress and have hit a snag.

I experienced this last week after four days of seminars where I had one participant give me a horrible evaluation that really knocked me down a few pegs. They complained the entire time and I really struggled to remain positive. I had to give myself a pep-talk, and change my attitude to stop ruminating about this. I feed my soul and connected to God to move beyond my petty self. I also cultivated compassion for this other person instead of holding on to resentment.

During these difficult times I know not to get discouraged and give-up but instead to ask myself how can I make this better or find a solution and new idea. How can I better myself from this? I view these challenging moments as milestone for expanding my consciousness and reaching a new level of growth. As long as I remain resolute and open to change failure passes and contentment remains.