What Lessons Can You Learn from Failure?

Don't let failure define you

Everyone experiences failure at one point or another in their lives. Failure comes in different forms and some pills are harder to swallow than others. However, failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you choose to do afterwards that does. There are those people who will let failure stop them from trying again. And then, on the hand, there are others who take it as learning experience.

Think about the last time that you failed at something:

1. Why did you fail?

2. What did you learn from it?

3. How did you apply that learning to what you did next?

4. Did you ultimately succeed?

Many people get stuck at question # 1 — why they failed. The root cause of failure isn’t always obvious and may require a little digging and soul searching. It’s easy to start blaming others but you control the outcome. What could you have done differently? There is always something, no matter how big or small. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong, it just means that there’s room for improvement.

After you’ve figured out the “why”, you need to figure out the “what”. What did you learn from it? From every failure or disappointment, there is a key takeaway or a lesson learned to be found. Think of it as a silver lining. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not always positive but it’ll lead you in the right direction.

When you’ve figured out what you’ve learned, it’s time to apply that learning to your next step, if there is one. Maybe what you’ve learned is that whatever you’re doing isn’t right for you. That’s OK too. However, if it is for you, take another chance at it but this time, do it a little differently. Learning from you mistakes can be the most important lesson in life, whether it be in your career or in your personal life.

And lastly, after you’ve given it another shot, did you succeed? If yes, then great. Succeeding at something is one of the best feelings in the world and can open another world of opportunities. But if no, then that is fine too. There is always going to be another opportunity to try again. It might not seem like it but you are always in control. You can make the opportunity if you really want to.

Don’t let failure define you because, if you do, then you’ve really failed.