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Coping with failure

Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset, talks about her research on children to understand how they cope with failure. While they were given increasingly harder puzzles to solve, some children were encouraged by the prospect of not being able to solve them and said things like, "I love a challenge like this!" while others were dejected and gave up on attempting solving them altogether.

She classifies these as the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

I have had friends whom I've seen feel dejected when they don't make it through a job interview or an entrance exam and begin to question their own abilities and self-worth. And I've also had friends whom I've seen react to similar situations with a shrug of their shoulders and identify what went wrong and what they can do to improve on that front for the next attempt.

Both are ways of coping with failure. However, only the latter results in learning from our experiences and becoming better along the way.

Our abilities are not fixed and the world isn't biased against us (or towards us). All we can do is to objectively look at our experiences (especially failures) and identify what we can learn from them and move on so that we are better prepared when we encounter such a situation again in the future. 

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