You put in all this work.
You made huge sacrifices.
You have been waiting for the final moment.
And when it finally comes, it’s like it didn’t at all. Nothing happened the way you expected.
In fact it’s actually worse, the total opposite.
Your stomach is knots. Your body temperature is rising as your blood begins to boil.
You’re beyond pissed at this point.
How could this happen? Why did it happen? How could the end result be failure?
You don’t have any of the answers and at this point it doesn’t matter because you don’t want to think about any of it anymore.
You just pretend like it never happened. That’s the best thing to do. Or is it?
If you don’t at least review what really happened you’re going to continue to fail, over and over. The only difference is it’ll be harder and harder each time.
Believe it or not, you’re failures can actually build you up.
Failure Kept You from Succeeding
When you experience a failure you either want to move past it as quickly as possible, or you want to crumble into a ball and hide under the covers.
Whichever your preference, looking back at your failure for clues is the furthest thing from your mind.
The way you see it, you’re just that much farther from the success you’re seeking.
Failure is the thing that kicked you back several feet from it when you were literally inches away.
There’s no point in looking at it, after all it’s the reason you’re here in the first place. It’s the last thing you would think it would be is helpful to your success.
Refusing to learn from your previous failures is like tripping over the same crack in the sidewalk day after day, and still being shocked when you stumble and face-plant right on the pavement.
You had the knowledge to avoid embarrassing (and hurting) yourself, but you didn’t use it to your advantage. So you don’t get any farther than a face full of rocks will allow.
Basically, you chose to forget that it happened before and inevitably repeated it because you didn’t try to learn from your experience.
What Your Failures Teach You for Next Time
You can increase your chances of succeeding next time by picking up on the signs from previous failures.
Those failures can provide you with the clues you need to kill it the next time around.
There are little signs in every instance of failure. You just have to look for them.
When you learn to seek those helpful signs and apply them to your future attempts, at anything, you’ll be able to advance further than you ever could with a conscious case of amnesia or staring at the inside of your covers.
1. You need to rethink it
When things fall apart from the very beginning, it’s a good indication that it probably wasn’t going to be worth the time and effort you were going to put into it.
This basically saves you the time and aggravation.
Think about how pissed you’d be if you spent 10 months on something only to find out it was all for nothing. That you wasted the better part of a year to get diddly squat.
It’s annoying when you’re trying to build something and it just crumbles, but it can also be a blessing in disguise.
Take that opportunity to rethink what you’re trying to accomplish, how you’re going about it and go at it in another direction.
2. You need more planning
How many times have you become so excited about making something happen that you focused too much on the end result and not enough on the process to get there?
I’ve done it before. It’s so disappointing because you know it can happen, it just didn’t. Then you realize there was a huge hole in your “plan.”
Sometimes you want something so badly that you overlook everything between you and it.
In order to be successful in pulling it off, you have to plan accordingly and work on your approach.
Make sure that you have laid down the appropriate plans for your desired outcome. If something doesn’t work out, review it to make sure you had realistic expectations and took all possible actions to make it happen.
3. You need to break the cycle
When you fail one way, for example due to inadequate planning, you shouldn’t be making that mistake again.
Once you realize that you’ve missed vital components of planning that should be something that you do not do again.
And not just for that task, but for anything else you do. You can benefit several times over from a single failure.
Applying everything you’ve learned from previous failures to future attempts will bring you closer to succeeding.
Failure is only worth the setback if you learn from it and do not repeat the same mistakes.
4. It’s not you
When something bad happens in life it’s easy to take it personal, but it’s not.
Just because it didn’t work out this time doesn’t mean you’re a complete failure.
Failure has nothing to do with you as a person. Your ideas and you as a person are not one in the same.
If you don’t allow you failures to beat you down the experience can actually build your resilience.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and prepare for the next round.
5. You’re getting closer
Everyone looks at failure like a wrecking ball knocking you down, further and further until there is nothing left of you. But it’s actually not.
It’s more like when you’re putting together one of those desks from Ikea.
You screw a couple of pieces together, then after you move on to the next step you realize that you screwed the wrong things together.
You have to unscrew one of the pieces and correct it before you can move on to the next step, and ultimately end up with a completed desk.
Instead of demolishing what you’ve built so far, you just take apart what doesn’t work and build it back up again from there.
How do you do that? With the knowledge you just learned from your mistake.
And just like that you’re closer to the completed project, in this case the desk as pictured on the cover of the instructions.
Failures are lessons in disguise. Indications that something needs to be tweaked before you can move on further.
6. That there are more opportunities
When you are trying to accomplish something specific, your view can get so narrow that you don’t see anything else but it.
Sometimes failing at one thing can lead you down a completely different road to succeed at another thing.
Did you know that the glue used on today’s post-it notes was a failed attempt at creating a super strong adhesive for the aerospace industry? Neither did I, but I have a stack of them on my desk.
It turns out that incredibly weak, pressure sensitive adhesive didn’t work at all in the aerospace industry but it turned out to be quite the staple in offices everywhere.
See how one failure can be a bright idea for something else.
Failure Leads to Success
While you may have been taught to put your failures so far behind you that you don’t see them, you shouldn’t.
We’ve all been convinced that it’s the kiss of death when it comes to success, but that isn’t right.
Your failures have much to teach you about ultimately being successful. It even builds your resilience along the way, which you’re definitely going to need.
Acting like your failures never happened isn’t going to do you any good. Actually, it could result in you stumbling over the same obstacle repeatedly.
On the road to success there will be many failures, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not on the right track, just that you have something more to learn.
Looking back at your last setback, what helpful thing could you take from it?