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“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama Recently I received some “bad” news; after years of studying and a nerve-wracking exams’ procedure, I didn’t make it to the list of the lucky few selected for the upper level public administration job posts. Having always tried to keep up with a job that made good use of my law degree, while at the same time pursuing my career as a writer, there were times when I questioned whether a law-related job was actually my true calling. At the time, trying for the public administration exams had seemed like a “best of both worlds” scenario. So, having finally made the difficult decision to take a leap of faith and change my career path, the outcome was certainly not what I had hoped for. Thus, I was faced with two options: either shrivel up in a corner by the heater, bawling my eyes out for one more shattered dream, or finally establish these new neural pathways I’ve been striving to build this past year of awakening and see the situation for what it really was. The expected, rather self-pitying reaction was looking at me with tearful puppy eyes, begging me to indulge in it. But this time I chose the new way. After the initial disappointment, I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the truth of things—that I had done my best for this job opening, and the outcome I was about to fret over was out of my control. I recognized then that I could not change what had happened and I had to accept it. Not surrender, but accept. As I’ve navigated my recent setback, I’ve pinpointed five ways failure can actually be beneficial. 1. You come to terms with what you can control and what you cannot. In short, you get to have a first-class, one-on-one encounter with your ego. Because it is your ego, not your true self, that demands to control every single outcome of every single plan and effort you make. According to Jungian psychology, the ego is made of our own beliefs and ideas about ourselves, whether true or false. That’s why the ego’s very existence depends upon keeping these beliefs intact; it cannot allow them to come crumbling down. For example, you might think of yourself as the best at your job; so when you end up fretting for days over a mistake you might have made at work, this is your ego trying to control something that is out of its power. In my recent exams’ case, I too could have barricaded myself behind my belief that I normally perform well at academics, and allowed my ego to keep nagging me about my not attaining my goal—but this time I chose perspective, not ego. Preparing for a job interview or exam? You can minimize your potential errors by studying thoroughly and keeping yourself in good [...]