Throughout most of our lives, we learn by a process of trial and error. It’s unlikely that you remember your first steps, but you probably wobbled a bit and fell down. However, you kept trying and eventually, you learned to stay stable on both feet and walk. It seems that for infants, fear is something that doesn’t hold them back from learning and becoming better.
Just think what would have happened if we got discouraged at our first few steps thinking that walking to too difficult and we would never master it!
At some point in life, we start thinking that difficulties, challenges, and problems can make us fail. A person could start imaging certain outcomes or reasons for not rising to the challenge. In time, this can seem like a reality and a person resolves him or herself to the fact that they are a failure.
To rationalize the idea of failure, people often say: “You win some, you lose some”. However, you will find the most successful people in history stick by a motto of “You win some, you learn some.”
What are some ways that you can turn outcomes that seem like failures into results that are learning opportunities? In this article, you will learn 5 ways to be successful and learn something from every situation in life.
First, it is important not to view a failed attempt as a failure. Actually, every time you attempt to do something and don’t succeed is actually a result of some sort. Usually, a person who get results rarely sees themselves as a failure.
In reality, ‘failures’ are actually learning opportunities that can help you map out a path to success. For example, you just have to imagine your efforts as an infant to crawl, then stand stable on 2 feet, take your first few tentative steps, walk, and eventually run.
The same is true in later life if you want to be successful. It is said that Thomas Edison made around 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before he invented the lightbulb. He viewed his light bulb as an invention that took 1,000 steps. Interestingly, Thomas Edison was fired from his first job for not being productive.
According to Dr Joseph Loscalzo, Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, failure should be celebrated because it is one of the greatest learning experiences. The only real mistake you can make is to not learn anything at all. (1)
Let’s look at 5 ways how you can turn results that didn’t turn out as planned into important learning experiences.
You shouldn’t let the fear of making mistakes hold you back from trying new things or aiming for a promotion. View any mistake you make along the way as an experience to learn and make yourself better. There are always important lessons to be learned from every mistake.
Although it is good to have an optimistic outlook on your chances of success in the future, you need to really analyse what led to the mistake or the disappointing result. For example, was there a lack of preparation? Did you speak without thinking the matter through? What could you do better the next time?
It is always easy to blame someone else or something else for failure, however, you should take responsibility for how you handle the situation. Taking responsibly helps you gain control of the situation and be in a better position to steer things differently the next time.
Even if you have experienced disappointments to failures in the past, you should not let fear of failure paralyse your efforts to improve. Remember that great success is built on failure – you just need to look at some of the greatest entrepreneurs to realise this fact.
Consistency is the key to making a success of past failures. Being consistent at what you do will help you master what you assumed you couldn’t do. Sustained effort over the long-term will give you the results you desire. If you don’t approach a challenge with consistent efforts, you will find that every time you do the task, you need to spend extra time and effort with little result.