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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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