How to Handle Failure


Written by Anita Ayibatari

July 8, 2020

Sometimes, failure just comes naturally even when we think we put in our best. When this happens, it can be discouraging. How do you handle failure?

Sadly enough, the society we live in does not condone failures. Failures are yelled at and despised. This only adds injury to an already deep wound. People who suffered failures are made to feel like it is the end of the road for them. And in some cases, it is. People have committed suicide because of failures. One thing you should know however is, no matter how bad the situation might seem, failure is not the end of the world.

Every great inventor or personality today went through a series of failed attempts and people telling them to give up on their dreams because they failed one too many times. Some were told to change their dreams and even told plainly that it would never work. Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper for not being creative enough. Another business went bankrupt. Yet he persisted until he created a multi-billion dollar company, Disney. Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before inventing the light bulb. Today they are celebrated around the world and most importantly, their stories have motivated and encouraged others.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work

Thomas Edison

A lot of people have no idea how to handle failure. Repeated streaks of not getting results can make them feel sad, worthless, depressed, or even entertain suicide thoughts. This shouldn’t be the case. Failure should be seen as a stepping stone for even better things. Consider it as success delayed, and you will have gained valuable lessons.

I never lose. I either win or learn

Nelson Mandela

1. Don’t Let the Talks Get to You

This is extremely important. People might either taunt, tease, or make fun of you. They may include close pals or even family members. Don’t let their talks get to you. This might not be easy, but worth it. You might never make it if you let the talks of others deter you from trying again.

I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time

Herbert Bayard Swope

Related: 15 Types of Friends Around You

2. Be Optimistic

Be positive. Everything will work out at the end. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison before apartheid was dismantled in South Africa. Yet he remained positive. Whether it’s people or with things, being optimistic will do you a lot of good. Look up positive stories. Browse through positive quotes. Read positive books. Whatever you do, remain optimistic. This will help you handle failure.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston Churchill

Read Also: The feeling of Insecurity and How to Avoid It

3. Retrace your Steps

For every failure, there’s always a reason. If it’s an exam, probably you didn’t study well. If its a business venture, you probably did something wrong. Think about the errors you made and try to correct them for the better. They are important as you learn valuable reasons from them. Don’t keep on doing the same things expecting the same results.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

4. Preparation

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

There’s no better time to start preparing than now. Don’t procrastinate, do it now. It doesn’t matter if you are feeling a little down, prepare ahead for the next venture. It helps keep you feel motivated and ready for the next challenge.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.

Abraham Lincoln

5. Believe in Yourself

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.

Norman Vincent Peale

If you don’t believe in yourself, No one else will. Believe that you can do it and the forces in the universe will help you achieve it. The fact that you failed the first time doesn’t mean you won’t succeed eventually. You are not unintelligent just because you failed those exams. You are precious, and you can do it. If only you believe.

Give me a few years, I’ve got some big plans

Ed Sheeran, 2011

By 2019 his song; Shape of You has become the most-streamed song on the streaming service Spotify. This won’t have been possible if he didn’t believe in himself.

6. Let Go of the Past

The past is the past, You can’t change it. Don’t sweat over it. Don’t let it hold you down. Let it go. Dwelling on the past can only rob you of the present’s joy. Instead, focus on the future. Work hard, persist and you will make it.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

Denis Waitely

Read also: It is Time to Let That Person Go

7. Trust your Destiny

All things happen for a reason. It was already written and is bound to happen no matter what. Trust it is for the best. Or perhaps it wasn’t good enough for you. Or that something better has been laid ahead for you. Trust in that and you can handle almost anything thrown at you, failure inclusive.

Some things are destined to be — it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.

 J.R. Ward

8. Smile and Laugh

This might be difficult but is one of the most gracious ways to handle failure. Smiling at every ordeal might be Impossible, but make it a habit to constantly smile. It not only elevates our moods and relieve stress, but can make us feel successful.

Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve

Napoleon Hill

If you can smile during troubled times, you can handle almost anything. Smile also reassures, and make you see the positiveness and beauty in life. It’s not the end of the world, smile.

9. Have a Mentor

In times when the world seems like it’s on our heads, it is always good to have somebody to lean on. A mentor could be a friend, family, or any other person. It doesn’t matter whom you pick, just as long as the person encourages and uplifts you. This is a tip that most people ignore. Having a mentor is crucial in every aspect of life. You get to look to that person for guidance. What’s more, you can learn from their mistakes too!

One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination

John C. Maxwell

10. Don’t compare yourself to others

As Nigerians, we know how it feels when someone else is compared to us. It hurts. We might find ourselves sometimes comparing our failures to other peoples’ successes. Don’t do that. Everyone has his course to chart. You’re unique and so are they. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Why can’t you be like Audu? Does he have two heads?

A typical Nigerian Parent

11. Never quit

If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!

Michael Jordan

This is one of the most important ways to handle failure. Failure is a stepping stone for you to re-trace those steps and look at the things that made you fall in order for you to be better. Everybody has failed in one area of life or another but that didn’t make them quit. If everyone gave up, we wouldn’t be here today. Only losers and quitters quit. You are not either. Keep pushing, You will succeed one day.

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