How to Use Failures to Drive Success

Primary School: Failed twice
Middle School: Failed three times
College Entrance Exams: Failed three times
Applied for Harvard 10 times: Rejected
Applied for 30 Different jobs: Rejected
Only applicant out of 23 to be denied from KFC
Only applicant of 5 to get rejected by the Police Force
Today: Co-founder of Alibaba Group (Net Worth: $44.3 billion)
Name: Jack Ma – One of the wealthiest people in the world

We always applaud successful people for their achievements, but never stop for a second to think about the failures these people must have faced before achieving their success. J. K. Rowling was a clinically depressed, jobless, single mother living on welfare benefits before she became the world’s richest author.

If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done? – George Carlin

“Failure” is something nobody wants in their life. Everyone wants to avoid it at any cost. However, the truth is that failure is an inevitable step in achieving success. All successful people, including Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, and many others, have faced countless heart-breaking failures in their journey to the success.

The following are some steps you can follow to embrace your failures and learn from them.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

“All failed
relationships hurt, but
losing someone who
doesn’t appreciate
and respect you,
is a gain, not a loss.” – unknown

When you face a failure, the feelings of frustration, despair, anger, and disappointment take over you. Address and acknowledge those feelings. Share your feelings with your friends and family. You may not like to discuss your failure with anyone, but this is the best way to get rid of your negative emotions. Remember that isolation can affect your mental health adversely.

If you do not want to discuss this with your family and friends, then write down all of your feelings on a piece of paper and then dispose of it. Repeat this until you get rid of all the negative feelings associated with your failure. “Failures should make you better, not bitter.”

Do not get stuck on your failure for a long time. Instead, let it go so that you can move forward in life. Use your emotions constructively to carve your own path to success.

Once you are free from those negative emotions, take some time out for self-analysis. Be reflective and evaluate yourself and the situation. Learn a lesson from it, review your goals once again and create a better action plan.

I have not failed…
My success is just postponed.
-Abhiraj Anand

2. See the Bigger Picture:

Failure hurts – it is not at all a pleasant feeling. But we must remember that the journey is more important than the outcome. Failure not only gives you knowledge and experience, but it also teaches you courage and self-discipline.

Always have faith that everything happens for a reason It is possible that your current failure is just preparing you for a bigger success

Everything happens for a reason,
People change so that you can
learn to let go. Things go wrong
so that you appreciate them when
they’re right. You believe lies so
you eventually learn to trust
no one but yourself and
sometimes good things fall
apart so better things
can fall together.
– Marilyn Monroe

3. Be Kind to Yourself:

It’s OK to fail. Sometimes we make wrong decisions – no one is perfect. We all are humans and we all make mistakes. Be kind to yourself. After you fail, you have a choice either you stay distressed and upset about what happened, or to consider it as a new opportunity to grow.

A study shows that failures may influence mood, emotional states and affect self-esteem. So do not focus too much on your failure, instead, be optimistic and set new goals with a positive mindset. Instead of draining yourself with self-doubt or wasting your energy with self-critical thoughts, engage your energy into constructing an effective roadmap to success.

Life would be very monotonous if you did not have failures in your life. Failures give you an opportunity to be more innovative, more creative. This is your opportunity to have a fresh start.

4. Learn a Lesson:

The wrong relationships teach you how to recognize the right one when it arrives.”
– unknown

If you learn a lesson from your failure, it becomes very unlikely for you to face the same type of failure again. The one major difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that unsuccessful people get devasted by their failures and play the ‘blame game’, whereas successful people learn from those failures and use that knowledge to create a solid foundation for their future success.

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.
Therefore the Master
fulfills her own obligations
and corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others.
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

As per a  study done by a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California, Antoine Bechara, “In a normally functioning brain, failure is welcomed as an opportunity for learning, and for strengthening us. What we learn from these studies is that failure is normal, healthy and necessary to learning.”

You have not failed until you give up: never lose hope. You never know, maybe you are just a few steps away from success when you decide to quit. According to another study done by the team of scientists from Northwestern University, “an early failure can lead to greater success later.” Researchers compared scientists who narrowly missed out (‘near-miss group’) on an important grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to scientists who narrowly qualified for the grant (‘narrow wins group’). After 10 years the scientists in the ‘near miss group’ ended up publishing more successful papers than those who narrowly qualified for the grant. “Failure is devastating—and it can also fuel people.” Says Prof. Dashun Wang. Never allow your failures to hold you back.

Never quit. If you stumble, get back up. What happened yesterday no longer matters.
Today is another day, so get on track and move closer to your dreams. – Unknown

The biggest drawback of the repeated failures is that we develop a deep-rooted fear of failure. This fear results in you focusing your efforts on preventing a loss, rather than on achieving a win. With a fear of failure n your mind, you always want to play it safe and stay in your comfort zone. Your fear prevents you from taking risks and therefore, limits your success. If this is the case, you may survive, but you won’t thrive.  The best way to free yourself from your fear of failure is to take the action. In other words, face your fear. Accept the outcome of your actions courageously and never doubt your capabilities. As Suzy Kassem once said, “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

People believe that it is very motivational to have a backup plan so that you don’t become directionless when you face failure. But University of Zurich researchers Christopher Napolitano and Alexandra Freund propose that backup plans can have a serious impact on the way that we make decisions and our motivation for pursuing goals. According to them, “in some cases, backup plans are a safety net supporting your goal pursuit, but in others, they constitute an unnecessary expense that can undermine your motivation to persist with your first-choice plan.” So, whether you decide to have a backup plan or not, make sure you walk steadily towards your goals without attaching yourself too much with the end results.

If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you. – Steven Wright

Parting thoughts…

How you face your failures determines whether they make you or the break you. “Pressure can burst a pipe or pressure can make a diamond,” says NBA player Earl Boykins.

Failure is unavoidable for all of us, so its best to learn to manage it in a healthy way. Failure not only gives you valuable knowledge but also makes you resilient, humble, courageous and helps you to grow into a better human being.

Remember to maintain a positive mindset prevents you from quitting because you haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying. Allow your failures to make you wiser and stronger.  Believe in the fact that you have an enormous potential to achieve anything in your life. Remember that your perseverance, hard work and strong willingness to achieve your goals will take you to the path of success one day.

The beauty of life is,
while we cannot undo what is done,
we can see it, understand it,
learn from it and change
so that every new
moment is spent not in
regret, guilt, fear or
anger, but in wisdom,
understanding and love.
-Jennifer Edwards

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2 Responses

  1. palak pandya says:

    awesome..failures are inevitable it’s how you face them learn and move on.. excellent piece of work.. this is so important specially for teenagers..they are the most vulnerable ones

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