You Are Not a Failure

Remind yourself of these truths the next time you believe otherwise

Linda Smith
Jun 24 · 3 min read

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

You are not a failure.

No matter who you are, what you’ve done or what you’ve neglected to do, this is one thing I know to be true.

You are not the interview that didn’t go well, the relationship that didn’t last, or the mistake you made.

In our culture, we’ve been taught we are the sum of our wins and mistakes. We are what we do. Our identities are tightly wrapped up in our passions and careers, setbacks and successes.

We’re taught to reach for the stars, and not accept anything but the best. The downside of this should be obvious: if we fall short, if we live a life more extraordinary than ordinary, what can we possibly have to feel proud of?


Mindset Matters

We all make mistakes. Screwing up is part and parcel of living an authentic life.

So why do some peoples’ missteps lead them to give up on themselves, while others use the experience to grow, thrive, and ultimately succeed?

It’s all in how you approach your defeats in life.

Successful people recognize having a failure doesn’t mean they are a failure. It’s simply a guidepost, a chance to recalibrate, redress, and turn things around for the better.

Next time you feel like a failure, repeat and take to heart one or more of these affirmations. They’ll help you adjust your path, alter your thinking, and get back on the road to success.

“I’ve been defeated before, yet here I am.”

Nothing helps me recover from a misstep faster than recognizing all the times in the past where I’ve failed, and recovered.

Each and every time you experience defeat, and then bounce back, you become that much stronger. Think back on times you’ve failed, and what lessons you learned from the failures.

You’ll soon recognize there’s nothing like a failed venture to realize your gifts, strength, and potential.

“Failure is the best proof there is that I’m growing and reaching.”

If you’re not failing, chances are, you’re not trying hard enough.

We all have the ability to make sure we never fail again. Simply stop trying to achieve anything. It’s foolproof but, of course, it’s no way to live.

There is no better proof that you’re setting goals, stretching and trying new things than an occasional mistake.

The only failure is to stop trying.

“Failure is often the stepping stone to success.”

Great things rarely come easily. Failure is often a necessary, albeit painful, stepping stone to success.

Spend some time thinking, or even journaling, about your failure. Brainstorm and imagine ways your misstep could possibly lead to your eventual triumph.

Remember, failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.

“What defines us is how well we rise after a fall.”

Experiencing a failure is human, what defines us is what we do with it.

Will you crawl under the covers, admit defeat and give up on your dreams? Or will you use your failure to rise higher than you even thought possible?


No matter what you’ve done, failed to do, or what mistakes have been scattered along your path, remember this truth: you are not a failure.

The world may try to convince you otherwise, but that’s no more than their own insecurities and fears being projected onto you.

You are so much more than your mistakes. Next time you’re in that painful space of feeling like a failure, remember this: your approach to your missteps is what matters most.

Turning your mistakes into victories is merely a matter of mindset. It’s the first and more crucial step towards moving past your missteps.

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Linda Smith

Written by

Content Creator at burlap+blue, creative, coffee-enthusiast, Enneagram 9

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +479K people. Follow to join our community.