How to Make the Most out of Failures

Posted on - in Productivity Hacks

Failure is never fun. Often when we fail, we feel as if we’ve wasted time. We also feel stupid, worthless and like giving up and never trying again.

Just because success isn’t instant doesn’t mean failure is forever. Here are five ways to make the most out of your failures:

Let the Poison Run Its Course

When you fail, give yourself time to mope. That’s not to say you should just stay in bed for two weeks straight, but you should give yourself time to feel whatever you’re feeling.

If you try and jump back into the fray too quickly, you suppress the psychological effects of failure. You could be denying what happened and allowing the aggravation the failure created to fester in the back of your mind. Denial is never good, so you’re only hurting yourself if you let unresolved tension linger.

How does feeling the emotions help? When you allow yourself to feel pain, sadness, frustration or whatever you may feel, you will understand how important your goal was in the first place. After all, if your failure didn’t bother you, then did you really care about the goal?

Allow this realization to inspire you to try again — just after a little bit of time.

Reevaluate Your Goals

Either your failure bothered you, or it didn’t. If your failure was no big deal, then how big of a deal was the goal? If the goal didn’t really concern you, then perhaps you should shift your energies elsewhere.

As much as we may love multitasking, dividing your attention among multiple responsibilities isn’t good. Each of your goals will receive less of your focus, lowering your likelihood of success.

Determine what matters most to you and how much energy you should dedicate to your goals. This moment of reflection could cause you to shift your priorities, and you may be better off for it. Always ask yourself why you want something.

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Treat Failure Like a Case Study

Let’s say you’ve thought about your failure, felt what you’ve needed to feel, and now you’re ready to try again. Before you do that, think back to your previous failure.

Replay the incident or journey in your head. Write down exactly what happened. Pretend you are a scientist recording notes, and try to analyze the situation to see where you went wrong. At what point did you run into a hurdle you could not pass?

Once you’ve pinpointed that problem, focus on how you can overcome it. What course of action do you need to take? What area of yourself should you work on?

Once you determine what you’ve learned from your failure, you can use that knowledge to your advantage.

Get Help

You aren’t the first person to fail, and you won’t be the last.

Odds are someone has been in a very similar situation. Reach out to a friend to ask for advice or just to vent. If you don’t know anyone who has dealt with a similar issue, research the problem online.

Lower Your Expectations

Are your standards too high? We often are our own harshest critics, putting more pressure on ourselves than we do on others.

Remember that great things take time. If your goal is big, try and break it down into smaller goals so you can achieve several little victories as you work your way up the ladder.

Don’t imagine failure as a dead end. By giving it that much power, you let it drag you down. Instead, imagine failure as a detour or a traffic jam. It’ll take time, but you’ll get home eventually.

Always remember that failure is part of the journey. It’s a part of life, and it’s a part of being human. We can run from it and live a passive life where we allow ourselves to drift aimlessly, or we can take action — learn from our failures and use that experience to grow stronger as individuals.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!

1 Comment

  1. Guilherme

    great points,
    in the end a lot of it boils down to patience.
    a great stoic lesson I’d add to it: You’ll come out stronger out of it, virtue is practised in hardship.
    I remind myself on that a lot. read biographies, people much greater than me or you have been through worse.

    5 years ago

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