Transcending Your SetbacksSetbacks are a natural part of life. To try is sometimes to fail, and we can often learn a lot more from our seeming failures than our apparent successes. Any entrepreneur can tell you, failure is a part of the game. It’s how you deal with that failure, how you bounce back after a setback, that determines your success in life. Rather than using your setbacks as an excuse to quit, or turning the situation into an exercise in self-loathing and crippling doubt, you can instead learn how to turn your setbacks into stepping stones.

The great philosopher Socrates famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Likewise, the unexamined setback is an opportunity wasted. If you simply ignore your setbacks, blame others, or fail to consider the cause of your failure, then you will learn nothing from the experience. Instead, analyze the nature of the setback. Why didn’t things work out the way you envisioned? You may be surprised what you learn about yourself when you consider your setbacks with honesty and openness.

For example, let’s say you have always taken the path that was chosen for you as opposed to bravely blazing your own path through life. You went to the college you were supposed to attend, even though you secretly wanted to attend a different school. Fresh out of college you took a predictable job, the one that everyone expected you to take. But at heart you really wanted to pursue your own unique passion and try your hand at something else, something that no one expected.

Nevertheless, all was smooth sailing until one day… Bam! Everything that you had worked so hard but so passionlessly to achieve suddenly blew up in your face. In this type of situation, examining your unexpected setback will likely lead to some startling revelations. Like a square peg being forced into a round hole, you were living a life that just didn’t quite fit. By examining your setback and doing some honest soul searching, you may discover that what you considered a setback was actually an amazing opportunity to begin living the life you want to lead.

If you find yourself dealing with setbacks in your career or personal life, let Tonja Demoff’s latest book, Twist & Trust: Finding Your Way When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn, help you find a way to turn your setbacks into opportunities you never even imagined possible.