Coping Skill - #8 - Be Prepared for Failure, but Don't Settle for It

Robin Cunningham Health Guide
  • This is a blog about taking risk.


    The concept of risk is extremely important in our society and our free enterprise economic system.


    Large Corporations, as well as most successful but much smaller businesses in our country, collectively spend billions of dollars every year on sophisticated ways of assessing the associated risk when considering what industries, production equipment, personnel training, etc. in which to invest, as well as how to mitigate the risks they encounter every day of their existence.  I have seen businesses, enormous and tiny alike, go bankrupt and out of business because of mistakes made in assessing risk or in protecting themselves from risk

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    In the arena of our personal lives, most of us spend very little time assessing risk.  With the exception of insurance, few of us invest cold hard cash to protect ourselves from risk. Yet there are an abundance of individuals that suffer painful, and even catastrophic, consequences as a result.


    Those of us with schizophrenia encounter associated risks every day that others don't face and of which most others are blissfully unaware.  If you go into the SchizophreniaConnection's library of blogs, you'll find blogs submitted by me in recent months that are focused on coping skills.  (Or you can simply click the button that is labeled "See all of Robin's blogs"). I earlier observed that the primary value of the coping skills I described is that each has the effect of reducing stress, which we can jolly well do without.  I've also observed that, once I internalized the coping skills (so that I could implement these without having to stop and think about it first) each became for me a guideline for the conduct of my life.  If you examine the coping skills I have described carefully, you will find that each of these, properly utilized, helps to reduce risk, and that is, at least in part, the reason the coping skills reduce stress.


    If we learn coping skills that reduce risk, and thereby reduce stress, it goes a long way toward leveling the playing field on which we must all play.  Whenever I discuss the coping skills publicly, it's at this point that someone says - "But anybody can use these skills.  You don't have to have a mental illness for these to work."  And my answer always is - "That's true, but very few people actually use these coping skills."  I think those of us that face the handicaps resulting from schizophrenia can use all the help we can get.


    And, how is all of this related to the coping skill in the title of this blog - "Expect Failure, but Don't Settle for It?"


    Again, from the above - "Those of us with schizophrenia encounter associated risks every day that others don't face and of which most others are blissfully unaware."  This is coupled with the fact that life by its very nature is risky.  Because we face more risk than others everyday it's very important for us to learn how to deal successfully with risk.  The effort to enter into, and remain in, recovery is fraught with risks.  If we are to do this, we must make choices in our lives that involve significant risk.


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    When we undertake risk there are two possible outcomes: success or failure.  If we undertake risk, we have to be prepared for the fact that we will not always succeed. Therefore, dealing with risk successfully requires us to learn how to accept failure.  We must be prepared for failure, but we must not settle for it.  We have to have the metal to accept failure from time to time and the spunk to get up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.


    I'll observe in passing that risk, with its possible successes and failures, is precisely why we must set our own goals (see Coping Skill #6).


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    Please remember, this writing reflects my own experience and opinions.  If you, or a loved one, are experiencing the symptoms of schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, you should seek professional assistance.


Published On: May 04, 2008