From entry level to the C-suite, it’s natural for people to feel upset and downhearted when they have done something on the job that they consider a failure. What many people do not realize is how much can be learned from failure.
Failure is not always bad and can play a significant role in ultimate success.
How to learn from failure
First, it’s important to be open-minded. Realize that not everything works out as you presume it should. Think about what you have done right. Be open to learning and analyze the situation. Recognize what you can do better.
You can bounce back from such situations when you change your point of view. Don’t refer to it is a complete failure; consider it a setback.
Experience can be a great teacher. Consider “failure” as a gift that provides an opportunity to grow, become wiser, and gain knowledge.
Recognize that fear can paralyze you. Instead, use the experience as a way to propel you forward. Some of the most successful people have allowed themselves to fail and welcomed it.
When you face failure, look for ways to improve yourself. Consider some of the best “comebacks” throughout history:
- Basketball great Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity team as a high school sophomore. He was sent to JV. During his NBA career, he missed 16.5 percent of his free throws, a total of 1,447.
- Beyonce Knowles’ musical group, Girl’s Tyme, appeared on Star Search and lost.
- During a 1961 audition, The Beatles were told that “guitar groups were on their way out.”
- Media mogul Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a television anchor.
- Author J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 major publishing houses when she submitted the story of Harry Potter.
- Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times.
- Walt Disney’s first company, Laugh-O-Gram, went bankrupt.
- Many of Albert Einstein teachers thought he would never amount to anything and told him so.
- Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was, “too stupid to learn anything.”
- Henry Ford failed in his first attempts in the automobile businesses.
- Sir James Dyson, who in commercials states he wants his vacuums to “work properly,” went through 5,126 failed prototypes.
The road to success was not easy for Abraham Lincoln, one of this country’s most respected presidents. For years he persisted even while faced with numerous setbacks:
- 1831 Failed in business
- 1832 Defeated for state legislator
- 1833 Failed in business
- 1835 Faced death of fiancée Ann Rutledge
- 1836 Suffered a nervous breakdown
- 1843 Lost election to Congress
- 1848 Lost election to Congress again
- 1849 Rejected for Land Officer
- 1850 Faced death of son Eddy
- 1855 Lost election the Senate
- 1856 Lost nomination for Vice President
- 1859 Lost election the Senate again
- 1860 Elected 16th President of the United States
In business, it’s important to look at the big picture and examine your career in the same way. “Failures” can only be failures if that is as far as you go. Take time to heal, learn from mistakes but do not dwell on them. Have a positive mindset and move forward to master your skills.