If you want to “rebound” from failure, focus on your emotions, not your failure, says new OSU study.
Researchers found that people who just thought about a failure tended to make excuses for why they were unsuccessful and didn’t try harder when faced with a similar situation. In contrast, people who focused on their emotions following a failure put forth more effort when they tried again.
While thinking about how to improve from past mistakes might help – this study didn’t examine that – the researchers found that people who reflect on a failure do not tend to focus on ways to avoid a similar mistake. When asked to think about their mistakes, most people focus on protecting their ego. They think about how the failure wasn’t their fault, or how it wasn’t that big of a deal, anyway.
Researchers stated that in most real-life situations, people probably have both cognitive and emotional responses to their failures. But the important thing to remember is not to avoid the emotional pain of failing, but to use that pain to fuel improvement.