The Favors Film Analysis Project applies the concept of setback to select films.

The exploration and application of setback as a concept is based in part on the ideas expressed within the book titled Overcoming Setback: Five Keys for Entering & Exiting Correction, which will be available by the end of October 2021 on Amazon. Below is content wholly adapted from the book to provide insight into how the concept is explored and applied as a film analysis target.


The Purpose of Setback

Setback is defined as a problem and/or issue formed resulting from a previous decision; it is an interruption in progress. The purpose of setback is two-fold. First, the purpose of setback is to reflect on those areas of weakness and determine what needs to be repaired and/or corrected before going on to greater battles. Second, the purpose of setback is to endure correction before reaching for recovery and restoration. You cannot recover from a setback without correction.

Setback is a place in your lifespan that appears to be the right place, but it is, instead, false. A setback is only created when you make a decision that opposes an instruction. If you support and obey instruction, then you would not create a setback.

Therefore, the only way out of setback is through correction. This is the argument put forth in Overcoming Setback. You cannot reach for recovery or restoration or advance in that area until you pass that failed test. Actions leading up to entering a setback could be characterized as the compromises you make that push you further into deciding wrongly and further into creating a setback opportunity.

For example, entering a gang is a compromise you set for yourself. Cheating on a spouse or long-term partner is a compromise you set for yourself. Having unprotected sex that results in a baby is a compromise you set for yourself. Lying about who you are and your capability is a compromise you set for yourself. Any compromise you make is not an opportunity. Instead, it is a deviation from the right thing to do in the immediate moment.

Thus, if you must compromise yourself to get what you want, you are somewhere before your time. To compromise is to create an opportunity for setback because you undoubtedly believe that the initial instruction, before you compromised, was not enough to support to walk out the journey with integrity. Getting out of setback is no easy task, and it will require self-reflection, patience, and correction.


These are the seven (7) stages of setback explored within the book.

Stage One: Missed Opportunity

The missed opportunity is something many people often voice when they realize after the fact that they should have gone down a different path. They were warned and instructed to go one way, but they decided to go a different route, which often led to trouble, misunderstanding, negative consequences, and missed opportunities. To miss something is to fail to notice, hear, or understand something that was crucial for you to know. Everyone, despite any individual belief system or moral or ethical implications, misses an opportunity.

Inherent in any decision you make is the respect you must have for rules, law, ethical decision-making, etc. It does not matter what you believe about the value of instruction and rules. It only matters that you obey and respect an instruction because if you fail to do that, then you should equally expect setback. The moment you disrespect an instruction is the same moment you have created a setback for yourself.

Therefore, the missed opportunity is two-part: 1) a failure to recognize the opportunity and 2) a disobedience to the instruction connected to the opportunity. Recognizing the opportunity is one of those times when an opportunity comes around and you must be cognizant of it. Not every opportunity is important to take, but there are opportunities or life’s little switches that you need to be aware of because they dictate your path, especially when you are on the right path for where you are going. They represent the transitional moments you need to move you forward.

You can miss an opportunity like you can miss a boat to get to the other side of the bay. Because you missed that boat, you must wait until another comes to get to your destined place. The destined place will require time, respect for seasons, and understanding of the process. There is no doubt that you will have to care about how you conduct yourself, so you do not miss the metaphorical boat, again.

Stage Two: Punishment

The purpose of punishment is to address negative and/or bad behavior. To punish is to inflict a penalty, discipline, and correction. Punishment is considered an unpleasant or undesirable outcome. The goal of punishment is to condition a child, for example, against self-endangerment; to require social conformity; to defend and sustain tradition and norms; and to guide people into respecting law and order. Punishment may also be a type of social coercion.

Essentially, without an understanding of what you did wrong, you are doomed to repeat the mistake. In addition, you cannot rely forever on this statement: “Everyone makes mistakes.” That statement gives you permission to continue in bad behavior without consequence. You also cannot continue using these statements: “I meant well. I was well-intentioned.” These two statements also remove the burden of taking responsibility for your actions, and responsibility is a hard pill to follow because you must confirm that you made a mistake for which needs resolution. Thus, resolution takes time. It is much easier to run away from the mistake than to remain and resolve your contribution and complicity.

Punishment reminds you that you can die because it is that bridge between life and death. Too many mistakes can cost you your life. Too many decisions that are not favorable for living a well-planned life will undoubtedly contribute to ushering you somewhere before your time, and death, when sudden, is somewhere before your time. Punishment encourages you not to die before your time.

Punishment, thus, is inevitable when you exhibit and apply negative behavior, when you decide to disobey an instruction, and/or when you choose a path that positions you out of order from the path you should be on. Punishment often comes when you choose to do what is most convenient rather than to do what is right.

Stage Three: Pain

Pain can be internal. Pain can be external. Pain is defined as physical suffering and/or discomfort due to an injury. Regardless, pain is pain, and you usually feel pain right after the punishment phase of setback. The pain reminds you that you have done something wrong, you have made the wrong move, and you need to undergo a process to let the pain ride itself out until the fever breaks. The longer you try to ignore the pain or bandage it in different ways through substance use, sexual relations, and related emotional-based crutches, the longer you will set back yourself from reaching your intended goal.

Pain is essentially the warning signal that you are in a setback. It is a signal that requires you to wait and have patience for it until it runs its course. There is no way out of pain that is effective. Numbing it in different ways will not solve the problem. Once you put away the crutch, the pain remains, and it will continue to remain until you understand why you are in pain and its contribution, which can be internal or external. You cannot move past pain without understanding the decision you made that caused you to enter a state of pain. Therefore, you will need to decide to exit pain because pain should not be perpetual.

Stage Four: Correction

The purpose of correction is to get you back on the original path set for you or you set for yourself. Correction is defined as the returning of something to its former place or condition. It is the reinstatement of a previous practice, right, or custom.

The correction process may be longer than immediate pain, even though when we are in pain, we think it will never end. No, correction is longer because you flunked the first course. Now you must take the course all over again and endure another course at the same time. Sometimes you continue to flunk courses during your lifespan until you hit a brick wall, manifested as a literal cul de sac, until you have no other choice but to turn around and go back down the street and address every house and structure until you return to the main road. You point your flashlight at every house, listening for the echoes of your past decisions and contemplating how you will get through the re-learning processes.

The right choice needs to be made, but we often make choices that are wholly convenient. In other words, we make the choice that feels good in the moment and hope later that we have not made a mistake. Since we usually do, it is likely that we will circle that old wagon of missed opportunity and complete the processes all over again.

Stage Five: Recovery

Any experience with recovery will usher you into an understanding about broken thinking. To recover is to return to a state of health, mind, and strength. Without soundness of mind, it would be difficult to accomplish anything, let alone achieve, and there is a difference between accomplishment and achievement. To accomplish is to use self-control to manage your temptations and to succeed at a goal you set. To achieve is to use grit to manage your temptations at multiple levels that require self-control and to pursue long-term success.

Not many people reach recovery after bad decision-making, even though it is available, just waiting for someone to walk into and grab it. Recovery, like all stages of setback, still requires that you listen to and receive an instruction to get through it. Throughout the recovery process is the need for guidance, someone to come along and guide each person’s experience down the right path.

However, some people will never recover because they often get offended at the part of the process that requires patience and the part of the process that prohibits them from finishing quickly. People do not like to wait, but they also do not like you telling them that they cannot finish in a timeframe that is convenient for them.

Going through the recovery process allows you to regain possession of your thinking and your mind. Subjecting yourself to many distractions means that your mind has gotten away from itself. You have abandoned your own mind, your standards, goals, and beliefs just to experience the fleeting moments that have no place or make any sense. There are some mistakes that you will make on your journey, and then there are some mistakes you create that put you on a different path.

You must receive instruction to get back on the right path. whatever you start, you must complete. That instruction is also inherent within the implicit goal you set. Once you enter recovery, you must see it to its end.

Stage Six: Restoration

Restoration requires mentorship, and mentorship is predicated on learning from someone who has walked out the process. To restore is to return something to a former place or condition, to return something to a former owner. It also means to reinstate a previous practice, right, or custom. The problem with the missed opportunity is that before it became a missed opportunity, you were going down the right path, but in order to overcome setback, you still need a mentor.

The restoration stage is tricky. You can find the wrong person at this stage in the process to mentor you because that person could decide that you are not worthy of mentorship. You could find the right person who is interested in mentoring you, but you might struggle with trusting the mentor because of previous experiences.

Stage Seven: Advance

The last part of the setback process is advancing to the next level and/or to the next purpose. To advance is to move forward in a purposeful way and make or cause progress. Advancing is a forward and continuous movement. There is no doubt about the meaning of the word. It does not make sense to remain in a state of setback when advancement is also an option. If life is filled with choices, then choosing to move forward is also an available option. The goal should be to move to the next purpose in life and to get to the next part of your assignment if you believe you have been assigned to a person or a group.

Entangling yourself into distractions will undoubtedly hinder your progress. You will be part of another process that will lead to a dead end, i.e., that cul de sac that forces you to turn around. When you hit your dead ends, you also expend a lot of energy trying to get back what you lost.

That is what distractions are good for: expending energy. You never really get anything done of substance. You may do enough to live and survive, but you will not be the person that an organization requests to get your expert opinion on a topic because you have not mastered anything. What is lost during the previous stage of setback is the lack of patience to learn your craft, to pursue mastery, and to solve a meaningful problem that will outlive your lifetime.

You are here on this earth to solve a problem. Whatever problem that is will be predicated on your gifts and/or talents. You have the solution on the inside of you.

Learning about that assignment is your next course. If you continue to get distracted and have to retake failed tests, you will struggle to discover your assignment, your purpose, your reason for waking up, and the rationale you must give for living every day. You need to advance your understanding about why you are here, what you are supposed to do, your season for performing and completing the task(s), and how to pass the baton when it comes time to do so.

Advance to the next level through preparedness and readiness to take on the task(s) ahead. This will surely get you out of setback and prevent you from being set back, perpetually.


These are a couple of keys to consider when reaching towards wholeness.

Build from where you are.

Building from where you are is different from returning to an instruction you failed and passing it. Build from where you are answers the question, “How far along could I have been if I had stuck with it?” Answering this question requires self-reflection but also forgiving yourself. There are times when you just need to build from the place of damage.

When you realize that you should be farther along on your life journey, you adopt a goal to “make things right” and “make up” what you lost. You grieve for the more you could have been. But to start all over, again, might affect your self-esteem and overall confidence. Sometimes you make decisions that affect you in many areas.

Sometimes these decisions are not always planned, meaning that you do not always consider forethought in the consequences of the decision. You just decide and let that be it. Building from where you are allows change.

Write the vision.

Writing the vision requires that you understand that change is needed to move forward and advance. People must understand the importance of change and assume that it is optional. It may be optional for someone who does not want to change, but to move forward, self-reflection is always key to change. Building from where you are is recognizing that even though an initial goal may not be working, you can develop a second, third, or fourth goal to get to where you want to be. It is the change necessary to move you forward.


These are a couple of keys to consider when enduring the repair and recovery processes.

Go back to the last instruction or test you failed.

To enter the processes of repair and recovery, you will need to go back to the last instruction or test you failed and pass it because you cannot bring failed beliefs into the new environment you are entering. Repair and recovery take time. Before you can enter these processes, you must endure correction.

Punishment precedes correction. Punishment is usually due to disobeying an instruction, and it has a divine component. Pain results from punishment. People often look at punishment as a moral directive and argue that it does not apply to them, but punishment is part of everyone’s lifespan. If you do not do what you are supposed to do in a particular context, then punishment will ensue, pain follows, and correction is necessary before you can recover.

Write the vision.

Since pursuit of repair and recovery are all-important, then writing this down as a vision is important. Your aim should never just be to get over and survive a previous life event. The goal should be to repair and recover and then move forward. Survivors remain in a state of survival, doing nothing more than surviving every time they are triggered or confronted with the triggering event.


These are a couple of keys to consider to help you through the post-setback process.

Take heed lest ye fall.

You are your most vulnerable when you exit the setback process. It is easy to think that you “have it together” or that you got life all figured out once you have experienced navigating through and out of a setback, but it is equally easy to make a decision that sets you back again.

All decisions need a place to rest. All drama needs a home. All chaos needs to feel comfortable in a host. All lies need to be believed. Because you are exiting the setback process, and you have done well to get beyond those metaphorical hurdles, you can expect decisions, dramas, chaos, and lies to frequent your path. It is inevitable.

The same drama has a way of coming back around but with a different face! You will say to yourself, “This is familiar.” Well, it is. You thought you had finished one habit but then realize that remnants and residue of a bad decision are still present somewhere in your heart, mind, thinking, and finances. This can happen five to 10 years later after your initial setback.

Conduct a SWOT.

Just before you decide to enter another relationship or simply engage another opportunity, perform a SWOT analysis, the acronym of which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a strategic planning technique that a person or a company can use to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition.

Always remember that “you” are your own threat. If you never believe anything else, this is true for everyone. It is not the many things a person does to you; instead, it is the one thing you do to yourself that creates opportunities for many people to do many things to you. In other words, you are responsible for you!

You are responsible for managing and regulating your emotions, for managing the people who come into your life, for managing the people you need to exit out your life, and for managing yourself beyond the need for immediate gratification. Conduct a SWOT during the post-setback process to gain insight about your progress and your plans. You do not compete with other people. Instead, you are your only competition.


Here is the most important key to consider:

Move forward.

One of the hardest things to do is to move forward because you are moving into the unknown. You are unsure of who you will be as a person who looks significantly different from when you first entered your setback. The person you were and the person you will need to become are two different people. Even how you use your gifts and talents will be different in the present or the future than in the past.

Copyright (C) 2020-2021 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.