This was not your best week. Something didn’t go right. Maybe a negotiation didn’t play out your way. What should you do afterward? Instead of just ruminating, a simple mental exercise can position you to do better next time. Follow these five steps, in order: • Imagine a better outcome, part 1: challenge yourself to conceive of an upward counterfactual, a path that might have led to a better deal. Make sure to focus on your own actions, not someone else’s. • Imagine a better outcome, part 2: challenge yourself to think of yet another upward counterfactual. Imagining a second path to a better outcome helps you to avoid attributing your failure to a simplistic, pat reason. • Imagine a different path leading to the same outcome: this is known as semifactual thinking, or an "even if". Ask yourself why the outcome might have been the same. The purpose of this step in the failure and recovery process is to reveal obstacles you might not have noticed or articulated. Later on, you can circ...

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