11 Useful Lessons That You Can Learn From Failure
I’m a firm believer in the concept that your failures can teach you just as much, if not even more than your successes. I’ve also briefly touched upon the topic in some of my previous articles – you can find them in the resource section at the bottom of this article. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what I mean by this, then this is just for you!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog! I’m Antoaneta – a London-based business leader and devout eco-warrior. In today’s article, I’ll be going over the eleven most important life lessons that you can learn from your failures. Or rather – the life lessons that you should learn from your shortcomings. Because, in my opinion, if you learn something from an experience, then it can never be called an actual failure. And let’s be real here:
You can’t always get what you want
No matter how smart, well-educated or brilliant you are at your job you are, eventually you will mess something up. And it might not even be something big (or rather – let’s hope it isn’t), but if things have been going swimmingly up to that point, you certainly won’t feel great about it. So, the unimaginable has happened – you’ve failed. Now, you’re faced with two choices. You can:
- Carry on as if nothing happened
- Sit there and wallow in sadness
- Learn what you can from the experience and improve
If you’ve picked number 3, congratulations – you’re already on the right path. You might even know some (or even all!) of the life lessons that I’ve listed below. But not everyone is as blessed as you are. Sad as it may seem, most people are much more likely to pick option 1 or 2. They’re much more inclined to either ignore the problem and risk making the same mistake over and over or just give up on everything, push themselves into a dark corner and wallow in sadness. Alas, saying “Woe is me” has never helped anyone succeed. So pull up your sleeves and get ready to pull yourself up by your bootstraps!
Failure Teaches Humility
Sometimes, success can get to your head. It can make you feel untouchable, infallible and invulnerable. And while I do believe that we should always celebrate our successes, you should never let them get to your head. A minor inconvenience here and there can serve as a great reminder that we are not, in fact, infallible and that we can most certainly get things wrong from time to time.
Failing shows you what you can do better
Maybe you didn’t try hard enough. Maybe you didn’t put enough hours in the project. Or you weren’t truly passionate about the end goal? Assessing the circumstances, surrounding a failure can show you what areas you of your character and your approach you need to work on. It might even give you a much-needed wakeup call – maybe you aren’t really passionate about working under someone else, and a career isn’t for you? Maybe you ought to be your own boss and start a business instead? If you feel like that’s the case, I’ve got quite a few interesting pieces on the subject that you’ll find quite interesting. As always, the links are in the resource section down below!
Failure makes you think of alternatives
Sometimes, failing to meet a deadline or achieve a goal is a sign of not trying hard enough, that much is definitely true. More often than not, however, we don’t fail for the lack of trying, but because we’re just simply not doing it right. Often, failure can remind us that the path to success is not just one and that we should simply try a different approach.
Failure facilitates creativity
Creativity often comes from scarcity and great need. A great deal of the important discoveries throughout history have come to people standing at the very brink of disaster. As unsettling as it may sound, humans have the most creative thinking when their backs are up against the wall. The harder we fail, the harder out mind retaliates by engaging our productivity and creativity. Obviously, I don’t mean that you should consciously put yourself in such positions. But just in case you happen to face the possibility of a huge failure, rest assured that your mind will find a way out.
Failing facilitates emotional maturity
Not getting what we want is definitely unpleasant. For some, it might even be the thing that pushes them off the edge. You can learn a lot about someone’s personality by observing how they handle failure. And this is doubly true for your own self. If knowing yourself is as important as people (me included) hype it up to be, then assessing your reactions to failure is an invaluable self-help and self-improvement tool. Use it to your advantage!
Failure tests your mettle
Failing is all well and good, as long as you don’t give up. As the saying goes – “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Don’t allow your shortcomings to prevent you from achieving your goals. You can do it. I believe in you – and so should you! That is one among the most important life lessons.
Failure helps you get a better grasp of the bigger picture
At the end of the day, no matter how hard you fail, the world will keep going, even if it doesn’t feel that way to you. It’s almost always only you who feels the turmoil from your failures and observing the bigger picture can bring you a surprising (and quite refreshing!) dose of clarity. This is something that I’ve always found incredibly helpful, and it’s helped me get through a lot of troubles in my life.
Failure brings out people’s true colours
If you’ve ever wondered about where someone’s true loyalties lie, failure can provide you with an excellent opportunity to see what’s what. As I mentioned above, you can learn a lot about someone’s personality traits by observing how they handle failure, especially if it’s not their own failure. You can quickly and easily tell if someone values you for who you are, or if they’re just trying to get close to benefit from your social standing or material wealth.
Failure prevents you from becoming a control freak
Realising that, no matter how much we want to, we simply can’t control everything is a great reality check. The more knowledgeable and successful we become, the more we try to control things. And why shouldn’t we? Surely, we must know how to do things much better than everyone around us! Well, even if that may be true in certain cases, you need to remember that you aren’t omniscient. Countless events are happening as you’re reading this life lessons blog that you’ve had absolutely no say in. Remember that not only are you incapable of controlling every little detail in your life, but you shouldn’t even try to. That will only lead to exhaustion, endless frustration and, ultimately – more failures down the road.
Failure is never final … unless you let it
Failure is only final if you give up. Until you come to a point where you’re so fed up with everything, that you decide to just up and leave, you haven’t truly failed. The goal or your motivations might’ve slightly changed (and for the better, I hope), but it will never really be out of reach unless you deem it so. Are you really going to let all of that time, energy and resources that you’ve invested so far go to waste? Are you going to choose to give up? Will you sit down and wallow in your sadness? Or are you going to get back up and keep on keeping on?
Failure as a source of motivation
Few things can be quite as motivating as looking back at how far you’ve come. Despite what the nay-sayers thought, despite all the issues and difficulties. Despite the failures. Yes, that’s right – you can (and most certainly should) look to draw motivation from your shortcomings. After all, you’ve earned it! You’ve not only managed to get back up, but you’ve also achieved the elusive end-goal. What’s there not to be proud of?
And what about you? What was your biggest failure in life so far? How did you get through it? What were your biggest motivations that helped you? As always, please share your thoughts, ideas, life lessons and experiences in the comments below – always love hearing from you!
Thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
Stay green and motivated!
Suggested for further reading:
- All of my articles on Success and Effective Living
- Dealing with the inevitable roadblocks
- Understanding Individual Savings Accounts
- Take control of your future
- How and why you should look into investing?
- How I got into property investing and why I like it so much?
- How aspiring investors can leverage the stock market?
- A quick write-up on the differences between credit and debit cards
- A Path to Wisdom – Tony Selimi
- How to be Brilliant? – Michael Heppell
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
- The New One Minute Manager – Kenneth Blanchard
- Legacy – James Kerr