4 Practical Ways to Learn from Failure



Did you ever consider how your failures can be turned into successes?


Did you know that some of the most successful products came about from projects that were at first considered failures?


Sticky-notes are a great example.  


In 1968, Spencer Silver was attempting to create a strong adhesive.  However, his invention didn’t work correctly since it was a pressure-sensitive adhesive that was reusable.

For over 5 years Mr. Silver tried to get companies interested in his product, but no one was interested until EM officially launched the “Press ‘n Peel” bookmarks in 1977.  But even then the product wasn’t very successful until they were released as “Post-its” in 1979.

And today?  

Well, try imagining an office properly functioning without them!


In the previous article we discussed 3 ways to become better through failure.   Addictions, alcohol, broken promises, alternatives to AA that don’t work, and many other things make us want to wallow in our failure, but there is a way to grow, learn, and move forward!


In this post we will give 4 practical ways to learn from your failure.



Write down what you learned

Many coaches and advisors will tell you to journal and write down your thoughts about whatever you are going through.


This is great advice, but sometimes too open ended.


Have you ever sat down after a rough experience and wondered what to write?


One of the most practical ways to learn through writing and journaling is to follow this approach:


When you win or have a success, write down 1 thing that you want to do again


When you have a failure, write down 1 thing that you want to change in similar situations


Whether you had a win or a failure, write down 1 thing that you are thankful for


You will find that following these guidelines will help your journaling to be more focused.  Also, if you do it


consistently, you will have dozens of learning points from both your wins and failures.


Surround yourself with positive people with purpose


The old saying “You will become who your friends are” has never been more true than in today’s culture.

Our social media saturated world allows us to be connected to thousands of people within seconds.  We see their pictures, hear their stories, and watch their videos.


And we are affected by them…


The people that you surround yourself with, both in person and social media, will affect you.  If you surround yourself with toxic friends who are often negative, you will find yourself starting to go down this path as well.


However, the opposite is also true:  focus on spending time with your positive friends who have purpose, and this will change your mindset in a positive way.


Find a mentor


There is a difference between a mentor and a good friend. While good friends are a key part to moving forward from failure, they often are our peers and have similar experiences to us.  This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that many of our friends have similar opinions, viewpoints, and experiences that we do. A mentor, on the other hand, is usually someone with more experience and wisdom.  



If you bring a mentor into your life, you want someone who will listen well, challenge you, and provide a viewpoint that pushes you forward.


If you don’t have a mentor, you should begin searching for one.  Meeting with someone multiple times a year for coffee or a meal, and especially over times of failure, will help you see your wins and losses in a more balanced way that will push your forward.


For more insights on finding a mentor, look at this guide from The Balance Careers.


Visualize your success


As humans, we are greatly impacted by our five senses.  In fact, we are so impacted by our senses that certain smells, tastes, sights, etc. can conjure up flashbacks and feelings in our memories and mind.

So how can we harness this for success?


Before you enter a situation that is making you nervous, take a moment by yourself and visualize yourself succeeding.


Go ahead!


Close your eyes, steady your breathing and body, and picture what you will say or do in your upcoming situation to be successful.  


Then, visualize how you will feel when you get the win.

Visualizing your success can help play a key role in overcoming failure.  It helps your brain enter a situation with a positive and confident attitude.

There is also a side benefit to this…

When you begin entering high-stress situations with this new confident and positive attitude, your boss, co-workers, clients, friends, etc. will notice; and it will begin putting you in a more positive light to them as well.


These 4 tips sound great in theory, but remember that they won’t accomplish much until you actually begin to take action and perform them.  


So get started!


Write what you learned from past failures and successes, spend time with positive friends and co-workers, find a mentor, and visualize your success.


If you would like some help in overcoming your failures, Accept & Conquer would love to partner with you.  Specializing in creating a fresh start, particularly as an alternative to AA, Accept & Conquer will help you gain a renewed sense of purpose.

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