“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
It’s no secret. At some point, everyone, including the most successful, fail. Things don’t go as planned and even the most intense effort feels as though it’s not enough. The disappointment can be crushing and disheartening in many ways.
While failure is unpleasant and uncomfortable, it is still not something you can avoid completely, so the best thing to do is to set yourself up to bounce back quicker. Conquering your fears isn’t easy, but why stay the same when you have the opportunity to discover a new perspective? Use your experiences to your advantage.
1. Note what you learned
Failure is life’s best teacher. Don’t waste more time and effort making the same mistakes. Ask yourself what you have learned from your experience and what new insights you have gained from it. How will this affect your future decisions and actions?
Successful people keep moving forward. If they had given up early, how would they be successful today? Create your reality with what you have and make the most of it. The worst thing you can do now is nothing at all.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan
2. Evaluate your plan
What went wrong? Reflect on what you did and leave your emotions out of the picture. Fully assess your actions and plans objectively. Consider what you’ve planned and check it against what actually happened. Note what improvements you should consider and to what areas you should shift your focus. You don’t need immediate solutions — just know what places need improvement and wait until you can think of something better. Research further into where to direct your attention and spend more time on what needs to be changed. When you construct your next plan, incorporate these findings.
As you are creating your next plan of action, follow your steps as if you were someone else and collect feedback from others. Find your weaknesses, so you know where to focus and what to replace. Think of your plan as a war strategy in which knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to place reinforcements wisely.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford
3. Recognize that you’re only seeing short-term results
Your failures do not define you because as long as you keep trying, the low moment will soon become a distant memory. Success is not immediate and no one is entitled to it. You shouldn’t expect to become successful overnight. Continue pushing forward and set yourself up with a strong foundation for future success by learning what works best. If you keep trying, you will achieve it.
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” — John Burroughs
Success always follows many attempts and failures. Even the successful, famous people you admire didn’t fulfill their potential on their first try. For instance, Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, failed the first two times he tried to start his own automobile company. The first time, his investor, William H. Murphy, a prominent Detroit businessman, lost faith in the project because of the time it was taking Ford to refine his design for consumers. Ford then tried again to repurpose his design, again convincing Murphy to believe and invest in it. This time, it was Ford who left the company, despite all of the money and time put into it, because he didn’t want Murphy’s people to interfere with his designs. Everyone wrote Ford off as incapable.
With a growing number of competitors emerging and much time wasted, no one expected Ford to succeed with his automobile. However, Ford soon found a new investor and was finally able to focus on his final product, now known as the Model A. Today, Ford is a household name, known as one of the biggest U.S.-based automobile manufacturers.
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