No. It did not come out looking like that.
I don’t remember how old we were then, my friend and I. There was soup in the kitchen and my mom gave us the green light to make the Eba all by ourselves. I am not sure if we were excited or not, but it was something we had seen done by others several times and there was no hesitation; we just jumped into the kitchen and waited for the water to boil. Then the big question came. Should the water be poured into the Garri or should the Garri be poured into the hot water? We decided the first option was the correct one. So we had this bowl filled to its brim with Garri and carefully navigated our way around the kettle. I wonder what would have happened if my mom had not come in just in time to stop the young chefs. We would have kept staring at the mixture wondering why it was not like the previous ones we had seen.
These days, I look back on it and laugh. Sometimes I think we could have gotten it right if we had paid more attention in the kitchen. But there is always a first time for everything and when we fall short at it, it can become the springboard for other things that we do attempt. So what if you’ve failed at your first relationship or even got fired from your first job? If you’ve been bitten, beaten or even battered after you first attempt at something, don’t think of giving up just yet. Here are a few things you can do to bounce right back up.
(Alternatively, let’s title this article – How to get back up after failing the first time or the nineteenth.)
- You are not your mistake. The worst thing you can do after making a mistake is to project it on everything else about yourself. You absent mindedly added sugar instead of salt to the soup and suddenly, you’re thinking ‘that’s why you’re still single’. This is the door you have been warned about. Don’t open it. It leads into a dangerous spiral of misery, frustration and blind decisions. First of all, calm down and understand that you’ll be fine. If you look closely at the mess you’ve made without a negative film of self-criticism, you’d realize that the mistakes are not usually as bad as they seem. Sometimes, things that look like big bummers now may be inconsequential in the long run. Most things are just human errors and you’re most probably not the first person to make that mistake. No matter how bad it is or how terribly you behaved, shake it off and let’s go on to the next stage.
- Remind yourself of your past or other successes. While you may not dwell on things you’ve done in the past, you can take pride in knowing that you’ve done some things right in your life. You’ve finished a project before. You’ve been generous. You’ve graduated with a good degree. You remembered to call your mom just like you promised. Small victories lead up to the big ones or give you the boost for an attempt at something new.
- Admit where you went wrong. Now take a good look at the situation. Recognize what you did wrong and avoid that big confusion generating cyclical game called ‘The Blame Game’. It will take you nowhere but make you bitter and tired as you keep going around it. Be objective, focus on how figuring out what went wrong will help you solve the problem and not on how badly you or anyone else dropped the ball.
- Learn your lessons. The fantastic thing about doing something at all, fail or not is that we can learn from it. A collection of mistakes and near successes are a big part of what we call experience. What counts more is what we learn from them. I could have done well on my first trial at making Eba if I had paid attention to what mommy did in the kitchen. Sometimes, falling short on an activity comes from not having enough knowledge about it. So learn more. Also realize that the best knowledge comes from doing something anyway.
- Apply what you’ve learned and make decisions. So your big mistake has cost you your job or hurt someone; what are you going to do about it? You should not be caught in the trap of confusion. From the lessons you’ve learnt about it, make a decision. If your decision is to do nothing immediately, make it an active decision. If you need to apologize, waste no time. If you need to drop toxic relationships, do so. If you need to learn more about that company before applying, do so. And apply.
- Don’t be afraid to try again. Just call it practice and do it again.
Not everyone gets it right the first time; and sometimes, not even the fourth time or nineteenth time. Are you considering yourself a failure right now? Believe me, it is easy to give up and think you’ll never make it anyway. But you’ve got to get back up and try again. I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote from Malcolm Gladwell “Practice isn’t the thing you do when you are good, it is the thing that makes you good”
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