By Jon Krop

Let’s talk about making mistakes. Now, I personally never make them (which I’m sure my editors here at SH101 will happily confirm), but I’ve heard that literally everyone else on earth does. Making mistakes is an unavoidable part of being human. In a way, it’s a good sign; it shows you’re challenging yourself. If you never fail at anything, you should consider trying harder things.

So, failure is not only inevitable but often a sign of growth. Yet when we make a mistake, even a small one, we often react as if we’d just smeared mustard on the Mona Lisa. We freak out or freeze up, which obviously doesn’t help—if we’re paralyzed with panic, we can’t think clearly or take steps to fix our mistake. Plus, it feels terrible.

What can we do about this? The answer, it turns out, is about 2,000 years old. In ancient Greece, a philosopher named Seneca devised a technique for confronting failures, setbacks, and worst-case scenarios without losing your calm or composure. It still works beautifully today, and modern psychologists continue to teach versions of it. Check it out in the video below.