It is common to fail at things, be knocked off the path you're taking and have things go way off your original plans. Usually, when that happens, the natural reaction is to look for a way to get back on track, catch up with the plan before the wheels started coming off and led you astray. This was my reaction too.
In recent times, I have made two mistakes that I'm now learning from (hopefully!). One, after being knocked off the path I was taking, I focused on getting back to the way things were thinking that that was a necessity to make further progress. Progress towards what, you ask? I wish I had done that myself. Because, then, I would have realised that the goalposts had shifted. The original path was no longer the optimal path. But, too late.
Two, after being knocked off the original path, I started evaluating new opportunities in comparison with where I was originally headed. Again, the goalposts had shifted. And comparing the new opportunities to what was being pursued before was like comparing apples with oranges. Simply not the same.
Looks like Taoism (my recent fascination) is followed by everything in nature, be it air, water, anything. Hence, they have lasted millions of years, because, whatever is contrary to the Tao does not last long. When it comes to air and water, Taoism is nothing but the search for equilibrium. You displace, heat, cool, change the size of the container, incline of the container, or anything else that comes to your mind and the air and water find a way to hit a natural equilibrium. The Tao way is to be in that state of equilibrium.
Just like air or water that follows the shortest path to equilibrium, irrespective of where it previously came from or what state it was on (or what state it's container was in), I ought to have looked for the next best thing irrespective of what path I was on. Now I know better. Now I know the way of the Tao.