“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison (Co-founder, General Electric)
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Bill Gates (Founder, Microsoft)
“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”
Charlie Chaplin (Actor, The Circus)
“That’ll never work!”
“You’re wasting your time!”
Everyone believed he would fail.
Everyone believed he was deluded.
For a long time, it looked like everyone was right.
Just as he started making progress, his laboratory blew up.
It literally blew up in his face.
A massive fire broke out at Thomas Edison’s factory and his goal of creating the first light bulb failed again.
But as the factory workers gathered around the flames, they saw Edison smiling.
He was marveling at the sight of the flames.
Edison went back to work the next day.
He ploughed forward with boldness and determination.
Even his failures were victories in their own way, because they taught him something new.
When his laboratory blew up, he didn’t quit.
Instead, he made a note of the reaction and how it happened.
He later used that reaction in other experiments.
His disasters opened up new avenues of research.
They opened up new ideas.
The light bulb, the movie camera, the phonograph, and much more.
Thomas Edison created these new technologies, causing the human race to leap forward.
But hindsight is 20/20.
For the better part of his career, Edison was mocked.
He was called a fool.
He was called arrogant.
Whenever he mentioned an idea he had, everyone’s first response was “that’ll never work!”
But that just motivated him more.
But it was not just his drive to invent new things that turned Edison into a legend.
When Edison’s factory burned down, he called his family over to admire the fire and promised to immediately start rebuilding the next day.
He didn’t lay off any of his employees.
He didn’t question his mission.
He just rolled with it and got back to work the next day.
This mentality is what turned Edison into a legend.
It’s what turned Edison into a genius.
How To Learn From Failure, Not Be Destroyed By It
Success has nothing to do with avoiding mistakes.
What determines your level of success is your ability to deal with your failures.
If you allow failure to get you down, your mind is weak.
But if you fortify your mind against the sting of failure, you can roll with the punches instead of being knocked out by them.
Everyone makes mistakes at some point.
Even people you don’t expect.
Even people who shouldn’t.
Doctors, surgeons, and professionals trained for years on end.
People who know how to work under pressure.
People who know a single mistake can end a life.
The key is knowing how to cope with your mistakes.
A report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that medical professionals who don’t know how to properly cope with their mistakes are more likely to repeat them in the future.
In other words, making a mistake does NOT make you more likely to repeat the mistake.
Failing to learn from your mistake makes you more likely to repeat the mistake.
Becoming afraid of failure or callous to failure is what leads to more failure.
Do you have a weak mind?
Will you fall apart after a mistake?
Or have you trained your brain to hold it together after a failure?
Have you conditioned your mind to stay strong and open after a mistake?
If you want to be successful in life, you must make your mind resilient to failure.
You must construct your mind like a selective fortress, allowing mistakes to flow through it so you can learn from them, while keeping out destructive emotions that make you more likely to repeat your mistakes.
5 Strategies For Turning Failure Into Success
Making a mistake is not fun.
If it’s a big enough mistake, you’ll have a physical reaction to it.
A wave of heat will flow over your body.
You’ll feel like you just got punched in the gut.
Your heart rate will increase.
Your mind will race, obsessing over the possible fallout.
These dreaded feelings prevent people from making the most of their lives.
These feelings keep people from living the great lives they’ve imagined.
Instead, they play it safe and settle on mediocre lives.
So as soon as things start to become a little difficult, they give up.
They quit because they’re afraid to fail.
When you give up because you’re afraid to fail, you end up a failure anyway.
You end up settling, refusing to take another risk.
You refuse to try again.
Refusing to try again is the true definition of failure.
Look—the only true failure in life is giving up completely.
Stumbling along the way to achievement is not failure, it’s success.
Start handling failure better.
Start embracing your mistakes.
Here are 5 ways for how to deal with failure and turn it into ultimate life success…
1. Purposely put yourself in situations similar to past failures
Think of a failure you’ve experienced in your life.
It could be your first job interview, where you fumbled your way through the questions.
It could be the first time you were rejected after asking someone out on a date.
(Or in my case, the first 10 times I asked someone out on a date.)
It could be a mistake you made in a business presentation or a misplaced word in an email which cost you a client.
Whatever it is, you feel bad just thinking about it.
You feel like a loser.
This unpleasantness is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from making the same mistake again.
The problem is that these feelings not only discourage you from making the same mistake again, they discourage you from taking the same risk again.
You can’t be successful without risk.
Just because you took a risk and made a mistake does NOT mean you should never take that risk again.
Instead of mentally hiding from your past mistakes, start facing them.
Dig into them and determine what went wrong.
What could you do differently next time?
Go back to that embarrassing situation in your head and learn from it.
Don’t shy away from it.
Don’t run from it.
Toss your fear and your mental weakness aside and look at your past failure.
Then, look for a way to take the same risk again and this time, come out the other end successfully.
The fastest way to success is to learn from every single experience you have had in life.
Even if you only learned what NOT to do.
Learning what NOT to do is a powerful way to get ahead.
When you face your past failures, you build a thick skin towards your future failures.
You create contingency plans that will protect you against future failures.
Now, when you face a similar situation in the future, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to do better than before.
2. Remember your failures, stop hiding from them.
Every instance of failure you encounter in your life is a step towards success.
They all teach you something.
Stop hiding from them.
There is pure gold in every mistake you’ve ever made.
Your mistakes are feedback.
Your failures are stories of what not to do.
Don’t refuse to read these stories.
Don’t reject this feedback.
Instead, meditate on them.
Flip through the pages of your mistakes and failures until you have a clear picture of what went wrong and how to execute things better next time.
Start seeing your failures as an opportunity to fix your approach.
This is the only way to improve in life.
If you’re too scared to face your failures, you’ll never improve.
Instead, you’ll stay stagnant.
You’ll hold yourself back, terrified to face what you struggled with.
If things went badly in the past, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed.
It just means you need more practice.
You just need to change your approach.
Ignore the whisper in your brain telling you to hide from your failures.
Ignore the voice in your head telling you to run away.
When you do this, failure suddenly becomes less frightening.
Instead of accepting a frivolous half-reason why you should give up, you’ll be conditioned to practice and persevere.
You’ll finally realize that you’re the one in control.
3. Keep your focus on your end goal at all times.
Achieving a worthwhile goal is not a cakewalk.
There’s going to be pain on the way.
Did you think you were going to glide to success?
Did you think the world was going to eagerly help you get what you want?
Not so much.
You’re going to face rejection and failure, over and over again.
The only way to stay motivated is to relentlessly turn your attention back to your overall purpose.
Turn your attention back to your biggest goals.
Keeping your goals in mind is the only way to stop yourself from giving up when things become difficult.
It keeps you from allowing minor setbacks to become crushing defeats.
Your attention should routinely be switching back and forth between your long-term goals and the feedback you’re getting from your environment, on a daily basis.
This means you’re always aware of where you’re going and always maneuvering proactively as you experience daily successes and failures.
Your end goal is your strongest mental defense against the sting of failure.
The key is to make your goals more compelling than the pain of failure.
By keeping a strong goal in mind, one that constantly drives you, nothing will be able to stop you.
Not mockery from toxic people who want to drag you down.
Not embarrassment or feelings of shame either.
You’ll stay strong through challenges because your eye is on the light at the end of the tunnel, not on any of the shadows surrounding you.
4. Throw people off balance to uncover new opportunities.
Staying mentally tough after mistakes is important.
This will protect you from the negative effects of failure.
But what about the effects of negative people?
Mistakes fade with time but manipulative people have a way of hanging around forever.
These manipulators will give new life to your mistakes by reminding you of them over and over again.
Nothing can tear your defenses down quite like a manipulative person.
These people can include friends, family, co-workers, clients, or employers.
Very often, you won’t even realize you’re in an irrational relationship with a manipulative person.
You won’t even realize that someone is dragging you down on a daily basis.
Stop letting others remind you of your mistakes.
Stop letting others throw you off balance.
Instead, take stock of the manipulative people in your life and deal with them strategically.
Recognize that the only control they have over you is the control you give them.
It’s time to take back control.
It’s time to shake things up.
Stop being so predictable with the negative people in your life.
Stop allowing them to subtly insult you, play the victim, and stuff your head with their unsolicited opinions.
Instead, start asking them why they’re always stuck in the past.
Start asking them what they’re doing with their lives.
Start ignoring them completely.
Start cutting them off.
Throw these people off balance, for a change, by refusing to stand by silently and refusing to be a crutch.
Taking a stand and changing your behavior with others will not only free you from their abuse, it will expose new opportunities in your life.
It will expose new opportunities in your relationships.
Change creates opportunities.
Mistakes create opportunities too.
Don’t get stuck in a rut with your relationships or otherwise.
Shake things up and start being a little bit unpredictable.
By doing this, people around you will start to see you as a natural leader, rather than just another yes-man or yes-woman.
They’ll see you as someone with vision and drive.
People can’t help but be drawn to visionaries.
When you ask the tough questions and take bold, confident steps towards achieving your goals, you’ll leave negative people behind you forever.
5. Always be trying something new.
Staring down past situations that didn’t work out and rising up to take past risks again is critical to being successful.
But what about new situations?
Too many people get stuck in a rut, not because they refuse to take second chances, but because they’re really bad at taking new first chances.
These people have trained themselves to overcome past challenges but have failed to take on brand new challenges.
The only way to avoid being thrown off balance by unfamiliar situations is to actively seek unfamiliar situations.
You have to always be willing to try something new.
You have to be willing to take unique risks, not the same old risks.
Face it—some challenges are comfortable.
Dealing with the challenge of going to work and getting along with your boss.
Risking to provide the same paycheck and the same support for your family over and over again.
These things are great but they’re not going to move you ahead significantly.
Instead, they’re going to move you ahead just enough to make you feel good about mediocrity.
Repeating the same challenges over and over is a one-way ticket to mediocrity.
If you want to be great, you have to seek out new challenges.
Dealing with and turning failure into success requires fortitude and resilience. By actively seeking out difficult situations in your life, you will become more confident in your ability to overcome them. You’ll develop a laser sharp focus on your goals and develop the discipline required to prevent negative people from knocking you off track. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.
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