When facing a challenge, whether at work or in our personal lives, there’s nothing more comforting than having a teammate by our side. So it’s no wonder this Instagram video  — of a toddler and a bulldog, struggling together to climb onto a couch — is pulling at the Internet’s heartstrings in a big way this week. 


Spoiler alert: Despite their valiant efforts, the little girl and her furry companion don’t actually make it up onto the sofa. And, yet, you can’t help but cheer them on, feel empathy for their struggle, and praise them for trying. So why is maintaining that same lighthearted perspective as adults — patting ourselves on the back when we try and don’t succeed — often so difficult? 

If you need help reframing “failures” in your own life, keep these tips in mind:

Try positive self-talk

Researchers have found that when you’re more compassionate with yourself about your mistakes, you can train your mind to see failure from a different angle — so you’re less likely to give up each time you hit a roadblock. One way to bring in more empathy following a failure is to embrace positive self-talk in your most imperfect moments. 

Write down one thing you learned 

Failure is a stepping stone to success — because our failures can help us see what’s worked, and what hasn’t. The next time you have a setback, write down one thing you took away from the experience that can help you in the future. If you find this strategy useful, you may also benefit from keeping a “failure resume”; some researchers have found that keeping track of your misses on a personal CV can lead to greater success in the future.

Make your next goal a tiny one

Often, after a failure, we think we have to make a bold move — for instance, we may determine another big goal as a way to “make up for” the loss. But at Thrive, we’re big advocates of Microsteps — because they’re too small to fail. Think of your “big goals,” and try breaking them down into smaller, more realistic ones. Then, use the adorable video for inspiration, and commit to baby/bulldog steps.

Loved this week’s joy trigger? Tell us why, and share with a friend! 

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  • Rebecca Muller Feintuch

    Senior Editor and Community Manager


    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.