20 ways to deal with failure

‘Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.’  Barack Obama

If creating legacy was easy, everyone would do it. In working towards your legacy goal and completing your legacy projects, you will encounter your fair share of failure. Here are 20 ways to deal with failure when it happens:

 1. Treat failure as a challenge. This will fuel your ambition for the next project, rather than being the end of the road.

 2. Find the meaning of failure. Ask yourself: what am I meant to learn from this?

 3. Put it down to experience. I know this sounds really cliche, but think about it: the mistakes you have made along the way, especially the common sense ones, highlight your weak points. As long as don’t repeat those mistakes, failing this time brings you one step closer to success.

 4. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you do that, you will still make progress, and get closer to your legacy goal.

 5. Allow yourself enough time to grieve. After that, acknowledge and move on.

 6. Don’t compare yourself to others who got there faster. Everyone has their own time. When the time is right for you, you’ll make it.

 7. The first time you fail is the hardest. Once you overcome that, next time it will be easier to pick yourself up.

 8. Create the ‘you are not alone’ feeling. Read the stories of role models who overcame failures.

 9. Put things into perspective. It’s never as bad as it seems. Take some time off, and reflect on what has happened. You’ll be ready for your next project after that.

 10. Build a catalogue of previous successes. This will remind you that you can succeed and help you conquer the self-doubt that usually accompanies failure.

 11. Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow. Once enough time passes, your failures will become the creative juice that will drive you forward.

 12. Accept that you will fail at some point. If you want to create legacy, failures are part of the game.

 13. Failures get you one step closer to success. Treat them as learning and feedback experiences. Next time you’ll know.

 14. Have people you can turn to in situations of failure.

 15. Fail earlier rather than later. The earlier you fail, the better you will deal with it and the less you will have to lose. Early failures prepare you for later success.

 16. As long as you work on what you can control, no need for regrets. Failure in such circumstances means it wasn’t meant to be. Better opportunities are ahead, so keep doing your best and you will get there.

 17. Don’t let failures put you off from trying again. Once you try again and succeed, your previous failure becomes a stepping stone.

 18. Beware of failures that look like successes. Be your own judge of what was a failure and what was a success. Sometimes they can be hard to distinguish. Success in gaining a meaningless 9 to 5 job may actually be a failure; whereas failure in a meaningful entrepreneurial project lead you to success in the long run. 

 19. Failures can help you focus on what really matters. Failures are really good at showing you what your real values are. Pick yourself up after the failure and act on what you have learned.

 20. Treat failures like mentors. Each failure has a few very important things to teach you. Listen, and learn.

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Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at www.alexaispas.com