March 2024

Bouncing Back From Failure 

Bouncing Back From Failure 

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From the Editor’s Desk

Failure is often seen as a roadblock on the path to success, but it could be the stepping stone one needs to bounce back to reach new heights. The most important thing is to persevere with determination, keep a positive mindset, learn to tolerate pain, desire to bounce back with a sense of purpose, and utilize adverse situations to learn critical lessons that we would not have otherwise learned. Our ability to bounce back from failure is a testament to our inner strength and resilience, as well as the result of divine grace.  

In this month’s issue of JKYog’s e-Journal Samarpan, inspired by the Vedic knowledge (i.e., tatvagyan) taught by Swami Mukundananda, we explore how to bounce back from failure, how it can be a catalyst for growth, how to build emotional resilience, and how to apply spiritual wisdom to recover and regroup.

Vedic Wisdom & Application

Challenge of the Month

Bouncing Back From Failure

Reflection Questions

  • How Can Failure be Perceived as a Catalyst for Personal Growth? 
  • What are Some Practical Strategies for Building Emotional Resilience? 
  • How can We Apply Spiritual Wisdom to Bounce Back from Failure?

Failure is an inevitable part of life, and it is how we respond to it that truly matters. Whether the devastation comes in the form of a failed business venture, a botched presentation, or a disastrous relationship, failure can leave us feeling defeated and discouraged. However, it is important to remember that failure is not the end but an opportunity to learn, adapt, and bounce back stronger than ever.

"Bounce Back From Failure"

How do we digest the importance of failure in life as a stepping stone for future success when our confidence has been shaken and our abilities doubtful? How do we bounce back from failure when we feel lost and unsure of what to do next?

Failure can be a tough pill to swallow. It can shake our confidence, make us doubt our abilities, and leave us feeling lost. However, understanding failure and its impact is the first step towards bouncing back and an essential part of the learning failure process. 


How Can Failure be Perceived as a Catalyst for Personal Growth?

Failure often triggers fear and self-doubt, leading us to question our abilities and second-guess our decisions, becoming paralyzed by the fear of failing again. But to bounce back and overcome failure, we must overcome these negative emotions and start accepting failure as part of the journey. We need to believe that failure is not a reflection of our worth or potential but a natural part of the learning process. Every successful person has encountered failure at some point in their journey. 

  1. Accept Failure as a Part of Life. When we experience failure, we first acknowledge and accept it. The next thing is to devise a game plan to bounce back. As Swamiji says, “We should not be terrified of adversity, for it is not our greatest enemy. On the contrary, it is in facing hardships that the best human qualities tend to manifest.”

    For example, Soichiro Honda’s first proposal to Toyota Corporation was rejected. His first invention of a big motorcycle miserably failed. He successfully redesigned the motorbike but then, as fate would have it, his factory was destroyed by an earthquake. He rebuilt the factory which was subsequently bombed during the Second World War.  However, even after losing everything in life, Mr. Honda bounced back from failure as if these were natural steps in the production line. Such resilience is the reason for tremendous success after a series of misfortunes. 

    "Soichiro Honda Bounced Back from Failure"
  2. Learn from Failure. Failure is a teacher, and the lessons it offers can be invaluable. To gain strength from failure, it is important to approach it with a curious and open mindset. If we know the specific mistakes or shortcomings that led to failure, and what must be done to avoid repeating such mistakes in the future. When we reflect on our experiences and take the time to identify weaknesses that contributed to failure, we will gain insights into how to avoid mistakes and develop a strength-based mindset. 

What are Some Practical Strategies for Building Emotional Resilience? 

Feeling ready to leave past failures behind and embrace a brighter future, we embark on a journey to turn setbacks into stepping stones and unlock our full potential. Here are some practical strategies to build resilience and move forward with a single-minded goal to put all unpleasant events in the proper perspective. Ask yourself, “Would I have learned the lessons of life without experiencing failure?” or “Would what happened matter if today was my last day on earth?” 

  1. Reframe Failure. To truly learn from failure, we must believe that it provides us with an opportunity to grow, develop resilience, and refine our skills. One way to conquer fear and self-doubt is to reframe failure as a learning experience. We must shift our attention to how we can embrace failure and perceive it as an opportunity for growth and personal development. In The Art & Science of Happiness, Swamiji reminds us that failure is just one nodal point in the journey of life and that adversities lead to the kind of inner growth that would not have been possible otherwise. We can also draw inspiration from the stories of people who overcame failure by reframing it.

    For example, the former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was an average student in school but very dedicated to learning, taking tuition classes in Math at 3:00 AM. His hard work paid off! He was admitted to the Madras Institute of Technology with a scholarship where he studied Aeronautics. Subsequently, he was interviewed for a job by the Indian Air Force but did not get selected. His spirits and dreams were shattered but he did not give up. Even after he joined the Ministry of Defense, there was a string of failures but he remained resilient and persevered against all odds. Please listen to Swamiji’s highly inspirational narration of Dr. Abdul Kalam’s life to understand the role that his positive and persistent mindset played in enabling him to reach the heights of success. His mindset of striving for excellence allowed him to take failure in stride.  

  2. Cultivate Resilience and Develop a Growth Mindset. Resilience allows us to view failure as a temporary setback rather than a permanent defeat. We must foster a resilient mindset to help us maintain a positive outlook and find the motivation to recover. In Questions You Always Wanted to Ask, Swamiji explains that we must persevere, learn to tolerate discomfort and pain, and desire to bounce back with a sense of purpose. With resilience, bouncing back from failure will be easier.

    "Bounce Back From Failure through a Growth Mindset"

    The only way to intensify resilience is to develop a growth mindset. As Swamiji beautifully explains in 7 Divine Laws to Awaken Your Best Self, a growth mindset involves believing that with the proper amount of effort, we can achieve better than our best. We do not assume that talents are predetermined; in fact, we perceive challenges as opportunities for growth. A growth mindset is about believing in our ability and intelligence to improve with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It also means to stay focused on the process rather than the outcome. 

    We can develop resilience and a growth mindset by deliberately seeking difficult tasks and viewing them as opportunities to enhance our skill sets. It is about being driven by excellence. An example of resilience and a growth mindset can be witnessed in the life of Liz Murray

    Liz Murray grew up in the Bronx in a very dysfunctional environment and at the age of fifteen years, she became homeless. She resolved to live her life differently from that of her parents. Not only did she take care of her younger sister, but also took on summer jobs and several classes in school. She completed high school in two instead of four years and graduated at the top of her class of 158 students. Liz set her sights high. She applied to Harvard University and submitted a scholarship application to the New York Times. Unfortunately, both interviews were scheduled on the same day. She chose to interview at Harvard and was accepted at the prestigious university with a scholarship.

    We can draw inspiration from Liz Murray’s life by contemplating how her positive and growth mindset enabled her to stay focused on the future, determined to turn her life around unlike her parents, and persevere through the tough times. We must remember that setbacks are only temporary hurdles on the road to success. 

  3. Reassess Goals After Failure. After we reflect on the lessons learned from failure, it is important to reassess the viability of the goals to move forward. Was failure due to a mismatch between my ability and the target goal? Was it due to carelessness in effort or dedication toward accomplishing the goal? Was I not convinced about the merit of the goal? Did I wrongly rely on others to help me accomplish the goal?


    If failure was related to a lack of knowledge regarding the nature of the task (job), we can invest time, effort, and money to acquire knowledge about specific skills related to that domain. If failure was due to carelessness, we can evaluate where we fell short on effort or dedication. If it was due to over-confidence, a lack of commitment, or attention to activities of lesser value that were easier to do at the time, then we need to create an implementation plan that is directly related to the desired goal. If the goal itself is of low value, then we can drop it and select one with greater merits.

    "Swami Mukundananda ji's Quote on how to Bounce Back From Failure"

    We must tap into your “why-power” to understand the formula for success vs. failure in life. Finally, we need to accept that it is our responsibility to accomplish our goal with the desire to strive for excellence. We can assign tasks to others but relying on them to do it well or save us from crashing reflects false expectations. 

    (We encourage readers to refer to Chapter 7, The Mindset of Growing in the Face of Problems in Swamiji’s book, 7 Mindsets for Success Happiness and Fulfillment. The entire chapter is dedicated to bouncing back from failures.) 

  4. Solicit a Mentor’s Guidance. It is equally important to solicit support from a mentor or a trusted well-wisher, who can offer honest opinions and constructive criticism. Seeking knowledge and guidance from experienced mentors who have overcome similar failures can provide valuable insights and strategies for recovery, as well as highlight blind spots we might have overlooked. A mentor can also help to challenge negative self-talk by teaching us to replace it with positive affirmations.
  5. Building a Support System. Navigating failure can be challenging, which is why it is important to build a support system of like-minded individuals who can provide guidance, encouragement, and accountability. In The Power of Thoughts, Swamiji explains that we must utilize and stay connected with people in our network for inspiration. Their triumph over failure can strengthen and keep us motivated. 
  6. Institute a Self-Care Routine. Bouncing back from failure requires mental and emotional strength for a strong recovery. It is important to take care of our well-being during this process. We must practice self-care activities that help us to relax, recharge, and contribute to resilience. This could include any form of exercise, guided meditation, appreciation of nature, or engaging in hobbies that bring joy. It is equally important to prioritize sleep and ensure that we get enough rest to maintain mental clarity and emotional stability.
  7. Cultivate Gratitude and Positivity. Embracing imperfection and cultivating a mindset of gratitude and positivity can help us to bounce back from failure. As we acknowledge and appreciate the lessons learned, we can express gratitude for the opportunity to grow from within. We can practice positive affirmations and visualization techniques to maintain a positive mindset. 

Remember, recovering from failure is a personal journey, and the knowledge needed may vary depending on the specific circumstances. It is important to continuously learn, adapt, and grow from the experience to increase the chances of future success.

How can We Apply Spiritual Wisdom to Bounce Back from Failure?

Spiritual wisdom suggests that by looking at failure as a form of grace, we can free our minds from lamentation and find the inner strength to move forward with a strong resolve. We become upset in the face of failure because we prioritize the material comfort of a structured routine in life. However, if we learn to perceive adversity as an opportunity to grow and bounce back, then the temporary pain from the hardship will appear to be a blessing. Here are a few lessons from the Bhagavad Gita – The Song of God that will enable us to apply spiritual wisdom to overcome failure. 

  1. Search for Knowledge to Dispel Confusion. God sends difficulties in life to keep us from becoming complacent about inner growth. When challenges appear, we must reflect on the scriptural knowledge to understand the source of problems and find solutions to regain the state of equilibrium. Such divine knowledge helps to dispel confusion, enabling us to be better equipped for the future (BG 2.2). 
  2. Accept the Dualities in Life. The world is filled with all kinds of dualities like happiness and distress, victory and defeat, fame and notoriety. The practical solution is to take these dualities in stride by detaching from the outcomes of our actions. When we perform any work for the pleasure of God and Guru, we joyfully accept both positive and negative fruits as the will of God (BG 4.22). 
  3. Detach from the Outcomes of Actions. Since childhood, every person of Indian origin has heard the famous shloka that teaches us to do our duty with a sense of purpose but not get attached to the outcomes. The results of our actions are for the pleasure of God and Guru alone, and because the inspiration for actions is a divine gift, we must not allow the pride of doership to nurture in the heart (BG 2.47).
  4. Use Spiritual Practice to Control the Mind. When the mind is under the control of the intellect, then it can be our best friend, otherwise the worst enemy. When not under control, the mind is tormented by anger, greed lust, hatred, and similar mental afflictions. Consistent spiritual practice or sadhana results in the purification of the intellect, making it more capable of controlling the mind. Effective spiritual practices include guided meditation, reading or listening to divine knowledge, chanting the glories of God, and contemplation of our thoughts and actions (BG 6.6). 
  5. Perceive Failure as a Blessing in Disguise. If we lament about failure, blame people whom we hold responsible (instead of ourselves), and develop sentiments of hatred or aversion, the material mind will wander further away from God. Instead, by perceiving reversals as a blessing in disguise designed by God to help us elevate, we will most likely let go of the resentment and bitterness and refocus on the goal of life – to unite the mind with God (BG 6.30). 
  6. Surrender and Seek Divine Grace. None of the material strategies or spiritual practices will work without divine grace, and surrendering to God and Guru is the only means to attract divine grace. However, when we perform our material dharma with the mind attached to God, it is equivalent to serving God with love and devotion. Such devotional practice attracts divine grace, enabling the soul toward complete surrender (BG 18.66).

In conclusion, through positive reframing, self-reflection, a resilient approach, and a growth mindset, we can navigate failure with grace and determination. Setting new goals, building a support system, and taking care of our emotional well-being are crucial steps in bouncing back. So, the next time anyone encounters failure, remember that it is not a roadblock, but a catalyst for growth. Embrace the lessons it offers, stay resilient, and keep moving forward. Our ability to bounce back from failure is a testament to our inner strength and resilience, as well as the result of divine grace.

Tools for Your Personal Growth

How well do you bounce back from failure? How resilient are you? Here are two tools. 

  1. The first is an external tool to enable you to assess your level of resilience. After assessing your resilience level, return to this page to review the second tool.
  2. The second tool is a set of positive affirmations based on Swamiji’s teachings. 

A downloadable tracking sheet is available for you to use.

Bounce back from Failure

Assess your level of resilience and review positive affirmations to help bounce back from failure.

Love to Hear from You

Please share your comments under “Join the Discussion” below.

Gems of Wisdom from Swamiji

Here are a few YouTube video titles with related links and books where Swamiji has described the principles and practices for how to bounce back from failure. 

Hold Your Breath! Check out Upcoming Events

We are very excited to share a dynamite event with you that is being conducted at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen), the official US Headquarters of JKYog.


JKYog’s Mahashivratri Mela

We invite you to participate in a grand three-day grand celebration of the sacred Mahashivratri Mela from March 8-10, 2024. It is a golden opportunity to connect the mind to the divine realm with highly devotional activities and a beautiful cultural program.

Residents of the DFW metroplex can partake of the joyous celebration of the festival in its true sense, by immersing the mind in the reverberations of divine chants and poojas. Those residing outside Dallas, are welcome to join virtually by joining the live broadcast portal that will be added closer to the festival date.

Join us for the celebrations to drench yourself in devotion as you participate in Shiv Poojan, Rudrabhishek, Chants and Kirtans, Shivratri Jagran, Cultural Program, and a Shivratri Special Satsang on Sunday morning. 

For the very first time, RKT is organizing a Kanwar Yatra. Experience the profound devotion of the sacred pilgrimage that symbolizes the unbreakable bond between devotees and Lord Shiv as they embark on a journey of faith and endurance. By participating in Kanwar Yatra, we invite immense blessings, personal well-being, fulfillment of desires, and spiritual progress into our lives. Join us to savor the legend of the roots of Kanwar Yatra. Savor the bliss of Bholenath’s divine leelas and connect with like-minded people at the Temple. 

JKYog Transforming Communities

In this section, we share the amazing activities and news about programs and events at various JKYog centers in the U.S.  

JKYog’s Swami Mukundananda Exclusive (SMEx)

Swami Mukundananda Exclusive is truly the most heart-warming and exclusive opportunity to connect one-on-one with Swamiji. This community of spiritual aspirants is exclusive in that people sign up for membership to connect with Swamiji live, and benefit from his knowledge and guidance. Despite Swamiji's extremely tight schedule and worldwide travel, he so graciously takes time out to meet with all his devotees twice a month to discuss issues of great concern to people.

Some meetings are scheduled exclusively for Q/A with devotees, whereas others are on specific topics where Swamiji presents a talk followed by an opportunity for people to clarify doubts. Swamiji provides direct guidance on matters ranging from divine wisdom of the scriptures to personal challenges in life. With guidance from Swamiji, all members experience inner bliss and are very grateful for the opportunity to associate with a divine personality. 

Those interested in signing up for membership can register at the SMEx website.

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