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How to Turn Failure Into a Positive Part of Your Life

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Have you ever wondered why some people handle failures so well? They take setbacks in stride and don’t let anything keep them from working towards their goals. How do they do this? Are these people that much tougher than you and me? Yes, they are. Well, yes and no.

You see, mental toughness is a complicated idea, not easily summed up by saying one person is more tough than the other. But in this regard, if we are comparing ways we handle failure, someone who takes it well is much more mentally tough in respect to failure than someone who doesn’t. 

That’s because the ability to be resilient and bounce back from failure is one of the six attributes that make up mental toughness. Though, to build this form of mental toughness is not complicated. Those who are able to face failure head on and move right past it all have one thing in common… their perspective on failure. 

How to Develop a Positive Perspective on Failure

Telling people to have a positive outlook on failure can be met with some resistance. The essence of failure means it’s not the result we want, so why should we feel positively towards it? I think this stems from the misconception that having a positive perspective means you want to fail.

Of course, we all would prefer to succeed every second. That’s just not how success works, in fact, the higher your goals, the more failures are likely to occur. But that doesn’t mean you have to want the failures. 

Having a positive perspective means shifting the way failure impacts your life. Instead of allowing it to tear you down, you can choose to use it in a positive way. To do that, you need to begin thinking about failure quite differently.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C. Maxwell

Recognize What’s in Your Control 

After failure occurs, it’s natural to be consumed by anger. You may become angry with yourself, your environment, or the failure itself. This wave of anger typically manifests in you seeking control. None of us like to feel powerless, which is why anger becomes such a safe emotional response. 

The angrier we become, the more control we seem to have. However, the control we aim to obtain rarely involves aspects of life that are actually within our power to control. This is when you begin to blame everyone else for your failures and think about all the things you could’ve changed or done differently to avoid the failure altogether. 

At this point, though, there is no use focusing on the past or the cause of the failure (unless you are giving it attention as a way to learn). The more you become emotionally invested in the past or seek to control that which you cannot in the present, the more difficult handling failure will become. 

So, what is in our control after suffering a setback or failure? Well, simply put, we are. How we react emotionally and what our next steps will be are the main areas in our control that need attention.

The failure has happened, accept it. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past or feeling self-pity for the misfortunes you faced. Right now, you have a wonderful choice to make, either continue to feel sorry for yourself and let anger consume you or decide you will handle the failure positively and focus on what’s in your control.

Next time you are faced with failure, try focusing on these key areas:

  • Your Thinking: What thoughts come to mind when you fail? Do you criticize yourself or do you use uplifting and positive self-talk?
  • Your Attitude: What’s your attitude when it comes to failure? Instead of taking it as a personal defeat, view it as a learning experience (more on this in the next section).
  • Your Attention: Are you giving focus to your past, going over all the things you could’ve done better? Or do you put all your attention and energy into improving yourself and progressing forward?

View Failure as a Learning Experience 

While we may not be able to control whether failure happens to us, it’s completely within our power to choose how we view failing. For some reason, we feel like failure must be viewed in a negative way. 

Holding to this idea is what leads to an intense fear of failure. We build up all these negative and threatening consequences around failing, that it’s natural to become terrified of it happening to us. 

Though, there is another option. We all know failure is going to happen, so it’s wise to begin using it to our advantage. All it takes to begin leveraging your failures is to alter your view of what it means to fail. 

Instead of being afraid to fail and taking each one so personally, begin to view them as learning opportunities. Each time you fail, you grow one step closer to your goal. It can serve as an incredible opportunity to learn what does and doesn’t work and alter your approach accordingly. 

Once you start to see failure as a lesson, your view of it becomes much more objective. You would not take a math lesson personally; you’d simply learn from it. Have the same mindset in terms of failure. See it as a mere lesson that’s actually positive, since it’s helping you inch your way closer to success. 

Eli Straw is the founder of Success Starts Within and has an M.S. in psychology. Eli's goal is to provide valuable performance psychology information to the public, and help individuals optimize their lives. If you would like to read more articles written by Eli, you can view them here. You can follow Eli on Twitter at @straw_eli. If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from mental performance coaching, feel free to email Eli at elistraw@successstartswithin.com.

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A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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Many people want to learn how to be confident in different situations, but it’s not always easy. Maybe we’re too addicted to comparing ourselves or maybe social media has brainwashed us to believe that we should all be rich, famous, and in incredible shape. (more…)

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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