Two steps forward, one step back or "learning curve" .Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Setbacks are a part of life – at least I don’t know of anyone whose life always runs smoothly. However, just as much - progress or steps forward also occur, in all facets of life.
However, when we suffer a temporary defeat, or setback, it may cloud our perception that we are moving forward at all.
It often occurs to me that even though I had suffered a setback, overall, I had still improved.
That is, I had made “2 steps forward, and 1 step back.”
Through every experience, each trial and error, we do learn .At some stage we apply those lessons, and may or may not get the result we wanted. We all learn at different rates but eventually we get there.
That is, even if it’s in small ways, we do progress.
However, often we are blindsighted to how far we’ve come. For some reason it’s easier to remember our failures than our successes. Perhaps we grew up in an environment where praise for achievement was considered indulgent or would ‘spoil us’. At work too many bosses will tell employers where they’re slipping behind, but not when they’re doing well.
It’s important not to be too disheartened when we experience setbacks. This is because we may abandon our goals altogether when disheartened. So many goals are so fantastic and are sadly forsaken because people forget just how far they have come!!
If relinquishing a course of action upon a setback occurs frequently, people may come to lose confidence in themselves. They may no longer believe they can do anything, whereas the temporary defeats they experienced were totally normal.
Setbacks are actually an important part of the learning process, in fact. That is, each mistake in the ‘trial and error curve’ serves as a reminder that a particular course of action won’t be successful.
The phrase “learning curve” is a commonplace expression. A learning curve, by definition, is not a straight line! (Otherwise it would be called ‘learning line’). The fact we use this term so frequently is because hardly anyone I know just takes steps forward.
In conclusion, Setbacks are
1. Normal and expected.
2. Part of an overall process in which progress is also made.
3. Part of the learning curve teaching us ways not to do something.
4. Liable to lead to lead to lower self-confidence if progress not taken into account.
5. This lowered self confidence may lead to us abandoning worthwhile goals. Therefore it's important to see setbacks in perspective.