Have you ever set yourself a goal, started with great enthusiasm but quickly hit a snag in the road? A distraction, a difficult experience, the feeling of failure, or creeping self doubt can pull you off track from where you were heading.
We understand this as the drop, and if you’re familiar with it, you’re not alone.
You’re not alone
People who have done extraordinary things with their lives have had to overcome the drop.
Malala Yousafzai was born in Swat, a region in Pakistan and she loved going to the school her father ran. In 2007, the Taliban took control of Swat and used violence to take away people’s freedom. Girls were no longer allowed to go to school. In 2012, because she stood up for right to education and wrote against the Taliban, a Taliban fighter tried to kill her by shooting her in the head. Even after being badly hurt, she survived. She did not let the Taliban scare her into silence and continued to pursue her education. Malala now she speaks out to protect other children’s right to education.
Growing up in Chicago, Michelle Obama dreamt of going to Princeton University – but not everyone believed in her. Teachers told her she would not get in. Michelle was discouraged but continued to stay focused, work hard and she got in! When Michelle was 27 years old, she faced one of the hardest times of her life, her father passed away. During this low point, Michelle found the inspiration to make the world a better place for kids. She became a lawyer and a writer, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States. She also helps young people pursue college education!
As a child Thomas Edison loved doing science experiments! His experiments failed a lot, but each time he learnt something new and important. When Thomas grew up, he spent a lot of money on some experiments, but they all failed – which meant he lost his money. Thomas then got a job in New York, and worked very hard to achieve something great. He invented the lightbulb and the motion-picture camera which we still use today!
What can we learn from these world-changers about overcoming the drop?
What has caused your drop? Was it a mistake like Thomas Edison, or a sad experience like Michelle Obama? Knowing what has caused your drop will help you learn what you can do to overcome it. Sometimes it may mean believing in yourself more that people believe in you, persevering with resilience in the face of setbacks, or keeping on practising a skill, even if it doesn’t come naturally yet.
It can be easy to want to hide from our mistakes and not face them head on. Imagine if Thomas Edison didn’t learn from his failures when creating the lightbulb. Let your mistakes help you grow, and choose each time to learn something to help you get closer to your goal. The drop isn’t always caused by a mistake, it could be that you’re too easily distracted or doubt your ability. You could identify those things and put in small changes you help you set your goal like having people around you who believe in you, and will remind you to practice or keep going. Read more about making a goal stick.
We also talk about this as resilience and determination. In pursuit of something she believed in, Malala was shot by someone who believed differently. She refused to be scared because she believed so strongly in her goal, even though her experience of being shot set her back from pursuing her goal of education for a time. Malala showed grit and determination to continue going. What are your long-term goals? Using grit, resilience will help you bounce back after a struggle.
What will you do next time you face the drop?
Learning how to overcome the drop is a skill you’ll keep learning, but with some practice, overcoming the drop won’t feel so hard.