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Published on December 9, 2020

7 Important Lessons You Can Learn From Failure

7 Important Lessons You Can Learn From Failure

Experiencing a major failure is one of the worst things in life. It fills you with negative emotions and leaves you feeling worthless. This is why most people will do anything within their power to avoid failure, even if this means never attempting anything new. Despite the negative energy it comes with, failure has its positive side. Experiencing failure can teach you lessons that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise—you can learn from failure.

Actually, some of the most successful people in the world were only able to attain success because of the lessons they learned from their previous failures.

Have you experienced a major failure recently? Here are 7 important lessons that you can learn from failure.

1. Failure Teaches You That Success Is Never Guaranteed

When trying something new, whether that is starting an online business, applying for your dream job, starting a blog, or even starting a new relationship, everyone wants to achieve success. Unfortunately, this desire for success can sometimes be limiting.

For instance, some people have always wanted to start their own business but they’ve never done it because they aren’t sure whether they’ll achieve success. They get stuck in analysis paralysis and keep waiting for the perfect time, which never comes, unfortunately. Their desire for success actually holds them back from starting their business.

Someone who has experienced failure, on the other hand, understands that success is never guaranteed. Sometimes, failure happens due to factors outside your control.

When you’ve been through a major failure, therefore, you understand that things could go wrong, despite your best efforts. Knowing failure is always a possibility—you learn to not let the fear of failure hold you back.

Having experienced failure pushes you to go after your dreams. It teaches you to keep trying and trying until you get it right. This is what eventually leads to success.

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Like Winston Churchill once said, success is moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

2. Failure Teaches You to Embrace Change

When you go through failure, this is basically the universe telling you that there is something you’re not doing right.

For instance, if you fail in college, this failure could be telling you that you didn’t pay enough attention to your studies. Similarly, if your business fails, the failure could be telling you that there are some business factors you did not put into consideration.

As the popular quote commonly attributed to Albert Einstein goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you keep doing things the same way you did before, you’ll still keep on encountering failure.

This means that to overcome your failure, you must change something about your approach. You have to look back at your failure, see what you did wrong, and then decide what changes you need to make to be successful the next time. In so doing, your failure teaches you that the only way to overcome failure is to embrace change.

3. Failure Can Be a Great Source of Motivation

For most people, failure dampens their motivation and makes them feel like quitting. For people with the right mindset, however, failure can be a great source of motivation.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan is a great example of such people. At 15 years old, Michael Jordan wanted so much to be part of his high school basketball team. Unfortunately, his high school coach didn’t think he was worth being part of the team, especially considering he was 5’10’ and couldn’t even dunk.

The realization that he didn’t make the cut really crushed young Michael. He actually went home that evening and cried in his room. Instead of letting this kill his dream, however, Michael was determined to show the coach that he deserved to be on that team.

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He trained as hard as he could, motivated by the pain of not making the team. Eventually, he earned himself a spot on the high school team and went on to become the best basketball player of all time.

This is an example of intrinsic motivation[1] spurred by failure to attain a goal you’re very passionate about.

Just like Michael Jordan, you can turn your failure into a source of motivation. Instead of letting it crush you, let the pain of not achieving your goal push you to work harder until you achieve your dreams.

4. Failure Is Not Final

After experiencing a major failure, it feels like your world has come to an end. You feel like you don’t have it in you to achieve your dreams—or anything worthwhile for that matter. Actually, after going through major failure, some people give up entirely on life.

However, if there’s one thing you can learn from the failures of some of the world’s most successful people, it’s that failure is not final.

When Steve Jobs was kicked out of the company he started in his parent’s garage, it felt like the world had come to an end for him. However, Jobs dusted himself off, started other companies, and was eventually brought back to be the CEO of a struggling Apple. He then went on to transform it into the trillion-dollar company it is today.

Similarly, Walt Disney experienced his first failure after being fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough.” He then started a company that failed as well. Undeterred, he went on to start the company that bears his name, which became a huge success.

There are several other highly successful people who failed their way to success. What you can learn from their failures is that failure is not the end of the road. It is possible to overcome your failure and go on to achieve greater success than you had ever envisioned.

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Knowing that you can still pick yourself up and become successful again gives you self-confidence, which is one of the most important soft skills for success.[2]

5. Failure Broadens Your Perspective

Very often, we are too immersed in the pursuit of our goals that we forget other important things in our lives. You might be so focused on growing your business that you overwork yourself and forget about other important things in your life, such as your family or even your health.

For instance, you might have decided to run a freelance business to enjoy a better work-life balance and spend more time with your family. With time, however, you realize that you’re spending more time working on your freelance business than you did on an 8 to 5 job.

Even after all your hard work and effort, you realize that your business is not making money, and you decide to shut it down. You begrudgingly accept that your business has failed.

Going through such a failure gives you a chance to look back at things and redefine what’s important for you. This is when you realize that you were too focused on making the business successful that you actually lost sense of the main reason you started the business—to enjoy a better work-life balance.

This period of re-evaluating your life following a major failure allows you to broaden your perspective and focus on other things that might bring you greater happiness and satisfaction than the goals you were chasing previously.

6. Failure Teaches You to Stay Humble

Success is a lousy teacher. Oftentimes, after achieving a series of successes, most people allow the success to get to their heads. It makes you feel invincible, like everything you do was meant to be a success.

Unfortunately, this often leads to arrogance. You start making riskier gambles because you believe that nothing can stop you. Ultimately, this sets you up for failure.

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If you’ve experienced failure, however, you never let success get to your head. Even when things are going well, you know that they could go wrong at any time. This reminds you that you’re human and keeps you humble.

It also makes it easier for you to handle things in case you encounter failure in the future. Dealing with failure is a lot harder if you’ve always achieved success in all your endeavors and arrogantly believe that you can’t fail.

7. Failure Teaches You That Not Every Idea Is Worth Pursuing

Sometimes, you experience failure not because you didn’t give your best effort but because you pursued the wrong idea. When things are going your way, you might get too optimistic and want to act on every idea that pops into your head.

Failure reminds you that not every idea that pops into your head is a great one. Experiencing failure teaches you to filter through your ideas, conduct thorough evaluation, and only act on the ideas that look most promising.

For instance, when Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1996, the company was literally on its knees. One of the most drastic measures that Jobs took to get back the company to profitability was cutting down on the dozens of product ideas the company was working on.

Jobs brought the focus of the company to a handful of product ideas. This focus on the most promising ideas is what took Apple from a struggling company to one of the biggest companies in the world.

Like Jobs who had experienced major failure when he was ousted from Apple, experiencing failure can teach you that not every idea is worth pursuing.

Wrapping Up

Failure is a painful experience that no one wants to go through. The truth of the matter, however, is that failure is inevitable. As long as you’re attempting something you’ve never done before or continue pursuing your dreams, you cannot completely avoid failure.

Despite the pain that comes with failure, this is not to say that failure doesn’t have its silver lining. If you pay attention, failure can teach you valuable lessons. To help you turn failure into something positive, I have shared with you 7 important lessons that you can learn from failure.

More Articles About Learning From Failure

Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Martin Lünendonk

3x Serial Online Entrepreneur

7 Important Lessons You Can Learn From Failure 7 Ways To Get Back Up After A Major Failure

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

The question is, where does it come from?

Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

What Is Fear, Really?

This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

    Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

    These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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    The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

    How to Overcome Fear

    Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

    1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

    There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

    In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

    What makes you feel afraid?

    Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

    This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

    Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

    As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

    2. Practice Gratitude

    If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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    When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

    Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

    In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

    Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

    Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

    The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

    You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

    3. Release Control

    Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

    In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

    Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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    In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

    The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

    The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

    Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

    True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

    4. Recite Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

    Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

    Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

    The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

    Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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    Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

    5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

    Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

    I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

    Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

    When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

    Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

    Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

    More on How to Overcome Fear

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

    Reference

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