Learning from Failure and Overcoming It


Failure is a difficult fact of life.  It is impossible to experience life without also consistently falling short.  The fear of failure often keeps us from fulfilling goals, preferring the easy, less world-changing paths to the difficult, failure ridden ones.


When we take time to allow those failures to change us, however, it enables us to find true success in life, not only in academics or occupation, but in relationships as well.


Below are five tips for overcoming failure as well as learning from it.


  1. Failure is the Key to Success


When you fall short, remember the failures of those who have found success before you.  No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, failures will prepare you for ultimate success just as much as the little successes will.


It’s helpful at times to look to others who have accomplished the thing you hope to.  How often did they fail?  How long did it take them to get to where they are?  No one finds immediate success.  Instead of letting it defeat you, allow failure to propel you forward.


  1. Don’t Allow the Frustration to Fester, Let it Out


Failure is stressful.  It’s difficult to keep a level head in the face of pain and disappointment.  Find a way to release your frustrations.  Take a walk, play a sport, write about it, even just allowing yourself to have a good cry about it can work wonders.  Don’t allow the feelings to fester.  Don’t distract yourself from it or give up on your goals.  Face them head on.


  1. Reflect on What Went Wrong


Once you feel less emotionally stressed, reflect on what went wrong.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  It can get really easy to blame external forces for the failure, rather than taking responsibility for our own mistakes.  Some aspects of the event may have been out of your control, but take time to recognize the things that were in your control and what habits and actions you need to adjust to avoid similar setbacks.


  1. Don’t Overgeneralize the Failure


Messing up is normal.  Everyone experiences failure on a regular basis.  However, it’s critical to remember that you as a person are not a failure just because you suffered a setback.  The heroes of history have all failed.  What makes them worth learning about is the fact that they overcame those failures.  They learned from the experiences and moved on.


  1. Learn from It


Once you’ve reflected on what went wrong, apply the necessary changes.  Other failures may come along, but by making these changes, the likelihood of suffering the same failure will be significantly lower.


As you do this, however, keep in mind that you may fall back into those habits that caused the problem.  It’s difficult to make some changes overnight, but keep working at it.  Eventually the new way of thinking and/or behaving will come naturally to you.  Just like anything of value, it may take time to achieve.


Failure is hard, but in some ways, it’s what makes life worth living.  It gives us the opportunity to change and become better and wiser people.  When we treat setbacks as opportunities rather than roadblocks, we can find joy, not only in the destination, but in the journey as well.
















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