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By in Personal Finance | 10 comments

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ” Winston Churchill

MAIN TOPIC: Ups and Downs


BarbaraFriedbergPersonalFinance had an amazing week. I interviewed Flexo from Consumerism Commentary for my upcoming PERSONAL FINANCE LUMINARIES series, and I was interviewed twice myself; first by Inger Johnson for her radio show Let’s Talk Dollars with Sense and secondly by Andrea Blackwell for her blog Modern Tightwad. I’ll update you when both interviews are AVAILABLE for public consumption. I also made some contacts with bloggers (Elle from Couple Money, David Ning from Money Ning, and Jacob Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey who advised me on setting up a new Facebook Page  for BarbaraFriedbergPersonalFinance.

Then why do I feel crummy?

Along with those successes, I had a rejection. One of my upcoming Public Workshops was cancelled due to lack of sign-ups. I am attempting to secure an on air personal finance commentator position in my market and guess what. My first follow up phone call was not returned. (Of course, I’m not stopping with just one follow up call!)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Tips to Handle the Inevitable Ups and Downs

My present life is a compilation of some really good stuff and some personal stuff which is really tough. Actually, this is not unusual. If you believe that “I must be happy and things must go well in life”, you WILL BE DISAPPOINTED. The nature of life is change and challenge. By embracing this reality you can LEARN to be happier and wealthier in life.

I found an article in the November/December AARP magazine by Jane Pauley outlining some of her life failures and how they worked out. Next to the article were three powerful tips to deal with DEFEAT.  Here’s my interpretation of these defeat-beaters.

1. Permanent or temporary? Ask yourself how long the setback will last? Most defeats are temporary. As the sports commentators say, HAVE A SHORT MEMORY. Move on. In Monday night’s New York Giants v. Dallas Cowboys game, Eli Manning, Giants quarterback threw two interceptions in the first quarter. Yet, the Giants went on to WIN the game. Do not dwell on the defeat but move on. Look at your positive qualities and accept that FAILURE IS TEMPORARY.

2.  Attitude is everything. My mom said it best in her recent guest post. Clearly evaluate the lesson from a misstep and determine what you can learn. In investing, losses are inevitable. NO INVESTOR EVER AVOIDS LOSSES. To be a successful investor, one must evaluate if the loss was within your control or not and then move on. Keep a growth mindset and figure out how to “make lemonade out of the lemons.”

3. In goal setting, I always recommend breaking large efforts into manageable bites. Edwin Locke, PhD takes this idea a bit deeper. He recommends that in addition to creating quantifiable steps, set a deadline. This is where I fall short. I’m great at breaking big tasks into small bits, but I forget to set a deadline. I’m trying this one today!

What’s the takeaway?

  • Just dive in.
  • Don’t think too much.
  • Forget about the past failures and focus on the future.
  • Be positive, no matter what.
  • Even financial setbacks are not permanent.
  • Do not be surprised by INVESTING LOSSES. Do your homework before investing and look at your OVERALL portfolio return, learn from the losses.
  • Fall down? Get up and start again.
  • Ramit Sethi mentioned that not a week goes by where he doesn’t have a rejection.

To sum it up, personal, financial, emotional failures are inevitable. The most successful people have THE MOST LOSSES, because they make the most attempts.

What is your advice for handling setbacks?


Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.

  1. Write down a recent set back or two.
  2. Make a plan to overcome the loss and move forward.
  3. Take step one NOW.

image credit: Wikipedia


My work was showcased this week at these carnivals. Why not stop by and check out the excellent articles?

  • Carnival of Personal Finance at Cash Money Life
  • Festival of Frugality at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff


  1. Congrats on your successes, Barb! You really did have a good week!

    I think this is a terrific and inspiring post for those of us who are coping with some form of personal failure right now. I know I had a setback in my real job this week that really had me questioning my abilities.

    This article has really helped to perk me up! Thank you.


    Len Penzo dot Com

    Len Penzo

    October 29, 2010

  2. Hi Len, No matter who we are, there will be peaks and valleys. Getting up fast and moving on are about all we can do. I’m glad you liked the post!


    October 30, 2010

  3. Barb – That’s a productive week. Good for you!

    I like the positive approch you take here. I think it’s very important for people to not dwell on failures but rather focus on taking action. Now, I do think it’s important to analyze and reflect on failures, as that’s a big part of learning. They can’t be forgotten. But, we shouldn’t dwell on them and should draw upon them to help us SUCCEED going forward,


    October 31, 2010

  4. Looking forward to the interview(s) Barb!

    I think I will be on vacation, or just arriving from vacation that day you will be in SF!

    Financial Samurai

    October 31, 2010

  5. Barb,

    With an attitude like this, I’m sure your setbacks will only be temporary.

    I was thinking about this subject yesterday. I called up an old friend who is having a run of tough luck. While I was talking to him to try and cheer him up, I was thinking about how lucky I am right now. But, I’ve definitely seen my own share of ups and downs. Perseverance pays off.

    Bret @ Hope to Prosper

    October 31, 2010

  6. @Squirrelers, What a depthful comment. You underscored the importance of remaining positive and moving forward while realizing that if you don’t learn from failures, you are back where you began. Thank you.
    @Bret-I appreciate the props, I’m sure your friend feels supported after the chat. Thanks for bringing up another of my favorite maxims; focus on the good things in your life!
    @Sam-Thanks for the visit & have a great vacation!


    October 31, 2010

  7. I’ve been rejected myself quite a few times. Every time it is painful and dissapointing. But the right attitude determines a lot. I always try to focus on the future and keep telling myself that when one door closes, another opens. If not the door, then a window! I liked how optimistic your post sounded. Way to go!


    November 1, 2010

  8. Somehow, it’s comforting to hear about others’ setbacks. Even though we know everyone has them! Thanks for stopping by.


    November 2, 2010

  9. I always think about setbacks as a numbers game. I try and take it not personally, and I realize that the more I try and apply, the likelier I will succeed. It’s not personal, it’s just business!

    Financial Samurai

    May 29, 2011

  10. @Financial Samurai,

    My thoughts EXACTLY. I believe in always moving forward, no matter what.


    May 30, 2011

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