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Keeping Exam Results in Perspective

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” – Henry David Thoreau

You’ve got your exam results and they’re not what you hoped for. In fact, they’re not what you need to get into the university of your choice or onto the course you wanted to do. Now what?

Let’s face it, if this has happened to you, it can feel like your whole world has come crashing down and it’s game over, right? Everything you’ve been planning to do, you now can’t do because you don’t have the grades you need to make the next move. You’re stuck… or are you?

You see, all of the above negativity has led to the belief that you’re stuck, but in reality, it’s only your thinking that’s keeping you where you are. You’re not stuck, you’re just choosing to think you are. When you take a step back for a moment, you can begin to put things into perspective. Disappointing results are exactly that, disappointing, but failing to get the grades you wanted doesn’t make you a failure.

Managing Expectations

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” No one knows who said these wise words first, but never a truer word was spoken in relation to disappointing exam results. Any disappointment in life is simply the emotion experienced when hopes and expectations aren’t matched by reality.

In other words, what you thought was going to happen, didn’t happen.

Everyone experiences disappointments in life, and some may take longer to get over than others, but all disappointments can be overcome when you choose to adopt a positive mental attitude. If we go back to the belief that your disappointing exam results mark the end of the road for you and you’re now stuck, your thoughts are quite possibly something along the lines of, “Nothing ever works out for me; why am I such a failure; what’s the point of even trying?” With this level of negativity in your mind, then yes, you are stuck, but only because you’re choosing to allow your negative thoughts to hold you back.

It’s only natural to feel down in the dumps when things don’t work out the way you hoped they would, but choosing to wallow in a pit of self-pity and despair is another matter. Okay, things didn’t work out this time, but are you all out of options? No. When you get things into perspective and you adopt a positive mental attitude, you can pick yourself up from disappointment and find another way to get to where you want to go.

You’re not at a dead-end, you just need to take a detour.

You Always Have Options

In the case of disappointing grades, you still have options:

  • Can you resit the exams? If you are determined to stay on your original path, then you can learn from your disappointment and work hard on making the necessary improvements to get back on track.
  • Can you take an alternative course? Are there other courses out there that fit with your interests and the grades you currently have?
  • Or, on reflection, has the experience given you the opportunity to consider what you really want to do next, not just what you believed you had to do or should do? Perhaps the grades you have are all you need to follow that path, or perhaps you’ve realised that a different path is really the one you want to put your energy into?

The bottom line is that moving on from disappointment comes down to switching your focus away from what didn’t happen and placing it on what can still happen if you work hard at making it happen. What you think about, you bring about, so dwelling on negative thoughts can only ever keep you stuck where you are.

When you learn to adopt a positive mental attitude, there are no limits to where you can go with dedicated effort – you have unlimited potential to succeed.

Ps  Discover more on making the most out of your potential in my book “Talent Unlimited” which gives you some key skills as a parent or teenager to succeed



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