This is not an exercise in failure. There is a subtle but important difference between experiencing our mistakes and living with setbacks.

Failure feels permanent. It burdens our soul. Setbacks, on the other hand, although we bear the same impact, do not produce the same lingering effects.

Setbacks are lighter.

In a sense, there really is no proper difference between calling something a failure, or a setback. To be honest, they are really one and the same, but our language is what matters. What we say. How we say it. What we do with what we say, makes a big difference.

Failure seems eternal. A setback feels temporary.

It doesn’t feel good. That’s for sure. It will never feel good.

But that’s ok.

We still experience the same angst, fear, worry, and dejection. We are spared absolutely nothing. We have to battle our setbacks just as hard.

But unlike a failure, setbacks include a real and timely possibility of reversing our fortune. A more immediate chance at redemption. A direct response.

The time it takes to recover from a setback is much quicker than a failure. We spring up faster. We think much less. We deal better with our complex emotions. We seem to recover faster because we have already made a commitment to ourselves, and we prepared for rain and thunder clouds.

We didn’t expect the sudden change in the weather.

We got jolted awake by the inconvenient, inclement weather, but we are better prepared.

We are positive.

Despite not being able to do anything about it, our minds bend; they do not break. We made the decision to kick some ass and take down names and we penciled out our parade route. We did this before the torrents and the hurricanes.  We did it before the storm clouds appeared on our horizon.


Some storms gut us. No doubt.  

They shake the wind out of us, leave us battered and blue, but even those hideous monsters yield little power over us, if we perceive them as a setback, and we don’t get seduced to take the defeated posture of failure.

Along with setbacks, there are also days and weeks when we get encircled by fog.

Our visibility and enthusiasm becomes low.

We haven’t done anything wrong. There is nothing that we could have done differently. Nothing we forgot. Nothing we needed to adjust. We just feel stuck. Unglued. Unfocused. Tired. Inundated with feelings of general malaise.

We are in a deep fog.

Seth Godin calls this the dip.  A deep valley of nothing but work. Devoid of feelings that bring us excitement. No line on the horizon. Just the sweat on our brow, and more dirt to shovel.  

There is nothing we can do about the fog, except keep going.

There is nothing we can do about the dip, except continue to rise.

Life tests us.

God asks how much do you really want this? What will it take? Do you want to quit? Or are you truly committed? Are you prepared or have you been seduced by another fleeting flight of fantasy?

So, brace yourself.

Brace yourself for any setback, when it comes, and keep positive.

Stay hopeful. Remain faithful. Be kind.

Remain diligent.

Become assiduous as you walk through the fog.

The sun never fails to shine.

The fog will dissipate.

A glorious morning is coming.