6 critical life lessons failure can teach you

Harness key learnings for your personal and professional growth

Everyone fails in life, at some point or another. Did you know that failing to succeed could actually be beneficial for your personal and professional growth? Experiencing failure is difficult but is often a necessary part of developing your career and can help you motivate yourself and strengthen your resolve. View it as an opportunity to revise your approach and discover what strategies work best.

Here are reasons why failing can actually benefit your career.

1. Strengthens character: Everything we experience in life teaches us something. Perhaps the greatest lesson with failure is helping you realize how strong you really are. In fact, failing at something can teach us valuable life lessons and build character better than succeeding ever could.

Your inner strength and resilience can help you recover quickly and effectively from setbacks. Learn to handle rejection and mistakes boldly and bounce back from setbacks.

2. Creates opportunity: Here is the famous quote from basketball legend Michael Jordan, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” While failure can be disappointing, it provides insights into strategies and practices that don’t work.

You may have failed many times in your life only to discover a better opportunity elsewhere. Maybe it was a job that didn’t suit you but led you to a better one. Or maybe a failed relationship eventually led to finding your perfect match? Regardless of the circumstances, the end result was often a sweet reward, wasn’t it?

3. Inspires courage: A majority of people avoid taking risks simply because of the fear of failure. Most, if not all, prefer not to rock the boat and maintain the status quo. In short, failure requires courage. Whether the failure experienced was anticipated or not, it enables you to toughen up and be bold to try something new.

The courage to innovate and sharpen your problem-solving abilities is a great trait for innovators and leaders. So, don’t be surprised if your current team lead or future employers respect you for your failures. Successful people are simply the ones who didn’t give up. Believing in yourself and finding the motivation to move forward is of key importance. To quote Winston Churchill: “Success is your ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

4. Boosts creativity: Someone rightly remarked that if necessity is the mother of invention, failure is the father. Nothing brings out the best in you like failure. Not only can it reveal your strengths and weaknesses but it can also inspire you to fix your shortcomings. Be it life, work, play, academics, relationships or any area of life, the driving force behind every success is often failure.

Scientists, athletes, movie stars and creative people in every field know that if something doesn’t work out, they must try, try and try again to find creative ways to succeed. If a traditional route doesn’t give you the desired outcome, you may need to embark on a new path.

5. Builds humility: Failure can be difficult to embrace and lead to a loss of confidence. However, the experience can help root you in humility and motivate you to try harder.

As stated earlier, everyone will face failure at some point in their life. Humility can help you handle difficult situations better and you can now also be an inspiration to others to keep trying and not give up. Being more relatable can help you grow your professional network and learn from new opportunities. So, go ahead, stay especially the fear of failing, stop you.

6. Develops resilience: Failure builds resilience. This is something required of everyone who wishes to succeed, and there is no better teacher than failure. The discomfort of a massive failure can motivate you to find the strength to take on any of life’s challenges.

Many times, taking risks can also offer unexpected rewards. For example, you can be more innovative in approaching hiring managers and stay determined to continue driving forward.

Did you know that J.K Rowling, author of the famous and successful Harry Potter series, failed over and over again? For over five years, she received nothing but “loads” of rejection letters from multiple publishers. Until Bloomsbury, a relatively unknown and young publishing company decided to publish the first Harry Potter book. And the rest, as they say, is history. Now that’s perseverance.


It’s important to learn from our mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success. Here are five tips to learn from failure.

Acknowledge it
Admit that you didn’t get the outcome you desired and that it is perfectly okay. By accepting responsibility, you could also inspire others to find ways to process and handle failure.

Accept the reality
While it’s a good idea to take responsibility for failure, remember there could have been other factors that affected the outcome. Once you accept the reality, you can reasonably control the situation and prepare yourself to act intelligently in the future.

Address your emotions
Being aware of your feelings can help you cope with the situation and enable you to manage your emotions. This way, you can address your emotions effectively to overcome failure or the fear of failure.

Explore your options
Looking at failure as a valuable lesson can inspire you to explore other options. When you fail you learn what works and what doesn’t, and can identify your own strengths and weaknesses. This can also help you develop other creative ways to success.

Learn from others
It can be helpful to study others, especially renowned people in your field, to glean useful information on handling failure. Remember that everyone fails at something at some point in their lives. You could discuss your situation with friends and colleagues and ask for advice.

In closing, find healthy ways of coping when you fail to succeed. Remember, there is more than one way to manage failure, and you can find the approach that works best for you.

You may also be able to effectively use positive affirmations about your intentions for success. This is a proven way to overcome the fear of failure and can help build confidence and resilience.

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