Life is filled with opportunities that we overlook or miss (remember when Netflix stock traded for less than $10 a share?).

Failure is one of the easiest sources of opportunity we miss.  

We look so long and hard at obstacles and what we lost that we fail to see the opportunities failure creates.

We achieve more when we reframe failure as “feedback” because it shifts our focus from obstacles and loss to new methods and opportunities.

Psychologists claim one reason failure creates opportunity is that it aids in our personal growth. Failure can make us stronger, wiser, and more resilient.

Every “failure” is a learning experience from which we may grow.

Failure can expand our understanding and change our mental, emotional, and physical activities for the better, and set us up for greater success.

Failure doesn’t have to be the end; it can be the beginning of something better.

The Ropes of Success

Failure can be nothing more than learning how to succeed at something, like learning how to walk when we’re toddlers.

Failure is a learning experience that improves our mental skills and abilities to overcome obstacles and learn new things; failure reveals what’s missing or how we must adjust.

It improves the planning process, how we analyze data, and what new skills, abilities, and decisions we need moving forward to reach our goals.

The feedback we get from failure lets us know when our plans don’t make sense, are unrealistic, or unobtainable with our current resources or how we’re using them.

Failure can improve our ability to create a progressive, comprehensive plan for greater success next time around.

Like it or not, the ability to analyze data and information and make decisions that make reaching our goals more feasible is enhanced when we fail if we choose to see the good side of failure. Failure teaches us how to evaluate information carefully and decide what data applies to our situation.  

Without failure, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to make new and exciting discoveries and improve old inventions (e.g., the light bulb, the automobile, rockets) or even the opportunity to solve problems and find solutions.

Emotional Opportunity

Failure can be a double-edged sword if we’re not careful. Letting failure “rule” the day can damage self-confidence and create a negative mindset. It’s easy to personalize failure until it becomes our new identity. Some people believe that they fail in reaching their goals because they’re a failure as a person. That’s both sad and a lie! No matter how many times you fail, you are NOT a failure!

If you let it, failure will help you grow and become better and even teach you how to manage your emotions more effectively. Failure can lead to self-forgiveness, even greater confidence, and deeper appreciation and gratitude.

Forgiving yourself for failing is a powerful way to finally free yourself from anger, sadness, shame, regret, and guilt. Forgiving yourself can be a process for reestablishing inner peace. It also strengthens confidence because you acknowledge that you’ve overcome setbacks, survived failure, and have intentionally decided to move forward with purpose. Sometimes the fresh start you need is the one only you can give yourself.

Gratitude increases, too. Gratitude plays an important role both as an emotion and a skill because it strengthens resilience, refocuses a negative outlook, and builds inner strength. Failure is an opportunity to choose to practice gratitude regardless of our circumstances and challenges.

Get Back In the Saddle

When you get thrown off the horse, you can quit or get back in the saddle and keep going. Failure is a chance to change your strategies, tactics, approach, beliefs, or actions so you can make the necessary adjustments that pull you closer to your goal or dream.

It requires you to take responsibility and be in charge of what happened, control your emotions and how you will respond, and stay on purpose.

One of the most humbling things about failure, if you’re going to learn and grow from it, is that it makes you take responsibility for your actions and role in the situation. You don’t blame, justify or make excuses because that gets you nowhere. Taking responsibility paves the way for you to take inspired action to correct the problems and issues. By not blaming others or avoiding consequences, you make the feedback serve you and support your goals.

Failure is an opportunity to adjust your approach and take laser-focused and purposeful action, which allows you to make necessary course corrections and limit future setbacks. Failure reveals what doesn’t work, what you need to do better, and where to focus. It’s the opportunity to go back to the drawing board to make better plans and decisions that get you closer to what you want to do or achieve.

Failure isn’t the end of the world. It’s a chance to make discoveries, learn, grow, tweak, adjust, and change. It provides an opportunity to plan, analyze data, and make decisions. Failure paves the way for personal growth through increased confidence, gratitude, and self-forgiveness.  

How you deal with failure determines how successful you’ll be. When you reframe failure from “messing up” to “helpful feedback,” you empower yourself to take positive, productive action. Some might even say that success isn’t even possible without tests, trials, and failures. 

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

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