Making Better Use of Failure — A Quick Guide

“I don’t look at failure as death. I don’t look at failure as finality. I just look at it and pick myself up and say, ‘We shouldn’t have done that,’ and move on.” — Robert Herjavec, my favourite Shark on Shark Tank.
Picture downloaded from Pixabay

Failure is a great tool for learning and personal growth though many of us are trained to look at it as a bad thing and as an end in itself. Often times successful people are those who have mastered the art of learning from failure (theirs and other people’s failures) and use these lessons to grow and become better versions of themselves. For many of us, school has taught us that failure is a bad thing and as such we have a very negative attitude towards failure.

Fear of failure is one of the most common types of fears we live with. It causes us to do nothing and, therefore resist moving forward. It is impossible to go through life without experiencing different forms of failure.

For us to make better use of our failures, we must recognize that failure is not an end in itself but rather a form of feedback that;

  • We need to do better
  • We are not yet ready for that aspiration
  • It’s time to grow
  • We have not put our best foot forward
  • We need to work harder
  • We need to prepare better etc.

This means that we must change our attitude towards failure if we are to ever benefit from it.

I am no expert in failure but having failed at very many things in several areas of my life and gotten back up, I have learned a few lessons from these experiences and would like to share 5 keys to understanding and making better use of the failures we experience.

1. Everyone fails

Yes, even though only a few of us will admit to it, all of us have failed at one thing at one point in -our lives. Yes, even the people we think are perfect have failed at one point or another in their lives. The only difference may be that they were able to pick themselves up after the failure, evaluated the experience and done better the next time. I believe the first key to making better use of failures in our lives is learning and accepting that failure is not unique to us. Everyone fails.

2. No one likes it.

Yes, even though we all fail, none of us likes failure. I have not come across any person who celebrates when they fail at something. None! So, that bad feeling that you get when you fail is not unique to you. No one likes failing.

3. Don’t take it personally.

The attitude we carry when we fail is very important if we are to ever make better use of our failures in life. The attitude we carry when we fail is an important factor in how we use the failures in our lives.

I don’t believe in taking failure personally. I like to think that it’s either the approach or strategy that I used when doing something that failed and not necessarily me as an individual.

This should also apply to money failures. One of my favourite quotes on money failures is this:

“Don’t cry about money. It never cries for you!” -Kevin O’Leary

Losing some money to bad deals and other life emergencies should never stop you from pursuing your personal financial goals. Simply evaluate and learn from those experiences and keep going forward in pursuit of your goals.

4. Failure is part of the growth path

Usually, when planning for something, we never plan for or even expect failure. I believe planning for and expecting failure makes you smarter. It makes it easier for you to manage it well instead of living in a vacuum and ignoring it all together. Almost all the successful people we know have failed at something in their lives. This shows us that failure is part of the growth path. I strongly believe that it is only when we embrace failure is a part of the growth path that we will effectively use failures for personal growth.

5. Always have a long-term view of whatever you are pursuing

No matter, how many times you fail at something, don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Remember the excitement you had when you were starting up. Remember that big dream you had and let it push you on to success.

Learning how to make better use of our failures in life is very essential for anyone who wants to keep growing and achieve their full potential.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on learning from failures in the comments section below.