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How to Use Failure to Your Advantage


This post was written by a Hussaam Baig, a fellow entrepreneur who left school to pursue online business. His website, Motivation Sphere, is a self-improvement platform aimed at anyone with ambition. Check them out!


At some point or another we will find ourselves having to come face to face with our imperfections; more often than not, resulting in failure. There is no escape from it; failure is the companion of every man on his journey to success. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we are or how dedicated we are to life, it will happen.

So, if everyone is destined to fail at some point in life, what separates the successful from the unsuccessful? Quite simply, successful people realise that failure itself isn’t an issue; it is the way in which we respond to it that determines whether we will be successful or not. As Napoleon Hill said: “Every failure carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit”. You are never successful because you did not fail; you are successful because you did not allow failure to rob you of your dreams and goals in life. You kept fighting.

One obvious and bitter truth about life is that it is designed to defeat the weak, those who forget to stand up after the first few falls in life. If you have made up your mind that you will never fail again, then you are also making up your mind to never succeed again! A wise man once said, “I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.” Which option sounds more appealing to you?

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of failure and allow yourself to turn the tables around:


Learn from your failure

 Those who have truly succeeded in life are those who have come to conquer failure and the fear of failure, they have come to realise that failure is, in fact, an effective teacher and that you can become its master. If you master failure, success will have no choice other than to reach you.

If you can learn just one lesson from your failure, you have not failed. There is no better teacher than failure, it teaches you ways in which not to do things; it helps you to see how else you could have done a task better and how to produce even better results next time. Failure makes you realise that you don’t know everything.  It can be your surefire ticket to building and acting on even bigger and better ideas by reinventing yourself. As sweet as success is, it carries the poison of complacency that is lacking in failure. With failure, there is only one way to continue, do better!

The most important lesson you can learn from almost every failure is the need to get rid of old, self-destructive habits that you may have, thus giving you the opportunity to develop new ones. In most cases, this is the single factor that results in a person completely turning their lives around. They realise that old ways will not open new doors and so begin to go about changing this.


End of the road or a new beginning?

 Failure treats you based on how you view it. When you come face to face with failure, what do you see? A dead end or a new path? To get the most benefit out of failure, you must allow the excitement of a new beginning to banish the ghost of a fading, gloomy failed attempt; this transition is essential to the survival of dreams. It shouldn’t be the end of the road, rather, you should see it as an opportunity to use all the new lessons you have learnt as you go along the way.

Nothing else guarantees success like the opportunity of starting again with a better experience, you avoid the mistakes you made and build upon the knowledge acquired in the last experience. You are certain that you will do better than last time.


Never internalise failure

 Failing at something does not mean that you are a failure, it was a project that failed, not you. Do not allow a present condition of failure to define and summarise your life; every successful person you know has failed before. Oprah Winfrey was rejected from television houses, Walt Disney was rejected as a newspaper cartoonist, Albert Einstein’s teacher believed he would never amount to much and Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, Apple! You are never a failure until you refuse to move on from the event of a failure. You failed, fine; but don’t allow failure to become your final destination by thinking about it all of the time. Allow yourself to move on.


Refuse to be kept down

 There comes a time in life when all you need to know is that you cannot afford to stay down. Whatever happens, rise back up to your feet. Sometimes, failure can be so gruesome that you will almost forget your name and other times you have invested so much effort into something just to see it all come crashing down. Simply refuse to give up. It may be very difficult even to see reasons to continue, just never give up. If your blood remains but only one drop, rise up again; if your breath remains but one, use it to get back up onto your feet. The mantra of successful people is that giving up is not an option; after all, what do you have to lose if you try again?

Watch this video clip of the US marines in training. You will see the power of determination; survival against all odds, sheer audacity in the face of unbearable pain; that is what it takes to succeed at times.

Stop taking failure so seriously

 Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves that we forget to relax. Failure can remind us that sometimes we just need to sit back and have a good laugh at our mistakes. We will always make mistakes and “living happily ever after” is only for kids. You need to stop taking yourself too seriously. Learn to accept the frailties and the imperfection of things and you will have made huge progress in dealing with failure. Before you start panicking in the face of failure, you should stop and ask yourself what the worst that could happen is and in most cases, you are able to conclude that it is not going to be life-threatening whatever the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should become complacent and start living a life full of excuses. I am only advocating that as long as you are doing your best, never beat yourself up because of the outcome.


Finally, never back down in the face of failure, treat failure as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. Get up again and again, fix your pony tail, roll up your sleeves, find another way, learn from your errors, reinvent yourself and go get it!

Next time you are faced with failure, ask yourself: what can I learn from this?