Failures are stepping stones to success – How can we learn from our failures?

History is full of examples of people who failed, but didn’t give up; they persevered and became successful. However, for every such person, there are probably thousands of people who gave up when faced with failure, those who never really bounced back to success!

Thus, failures are important; they have the power to become stepping stones to success as long as we learn from them. Difference is in people’s mindset and ability to learn from mistakes – courage to turn failure into an opportunity.

Some people are probably lucky to have been naturally gifted with this ability. But, many would have learnt it carefully over a period of time.

Self-reflect – While self reflection is a powerful tool for self-development, it is absolutely critical for learning from failures. People who are successful in learning from failures are able to self-reflect and analyze well: ‘where have things gone wrong’, ‘why have they gone wrong’, ‘what could have been done differently’, ‘what’s my role in the failure’. People who are good at self-reflection are able to ask tough questions of themselves and isolate the core problem. Most important thing at this stage is to be honest with self.

Don’t beat yourself – It’s important to analyze and see one’s role in failure and admit it truthfully. But it’s equally important to look at it objectively and not take things to heart. If taken to heart, pessimism may set in. If feelings of guilt and hopelessness creep in, be compassionate to yourself. Self-compassion may act as a ‘make or break’ at this juncture, “to err is human” Acknowledge the mistake, identify the root cause and move on, it’s not the end of the world.

Focus on way forward – Next step is to focus on future actions. Depending on the nature of failure or mistake, the actions may have to be taken immediately or in future, they could be short term or medium to long term. Whichever way, it’s important to plan as to what one would start doing, continue to do and stop doing.

Persevere – If the failure is public, it’s there for all to see and is most difficult to handle. Unfortunately, most failures usually are public. Thus, it’s not easy to bounce back. Only positive mindset and self-confidence will help one persevere and help move in the right direction. Trusting relationships – be it a friend, colleague, boss, spouse, parent or sibling – can also be a source of support and can help persevere.

Let’s remember, there’s always a hope, till we decide to give up!

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