Turning Failure into Success

Video games and the path to success
Some people say playing video games is a waste of time. I would like to argue games of all types can teach us a thing or two about perseverance. What happens when you lose during a game? Usually, you end up back at the beginning of your last completed level you get to try again. In videos games you can look at failure as a bonus because every attempt you make at your current objective teaches you something about your environment, about your adversaries, about short cuts. (Another benefit of failure outside a video game is, in general, it doesn’t kill you.)

Sometimes the difference between failure and success is small. Addressing your message to a slightly different audience. You may need to adjust by changing your pitch or highlighting something else about your project. Failure teaches you as much about what doesn’t work as success teaches you about what does.

Realigning yourself with your original goals
Remember how you felt when you first started pursuing your goal? How confident you were? The things that made you think you could make a success of the venture? Why you believed you could do it? Sometimes failure is just the thing you need to reignite your inner fire.

Michael Jordan played baseball, football and basketball in high school, but he didn’t make the cut for the basketball team the first time he tried out. Instead of simply focusing on one of his other options, that failure crystallized his aspirations and drove him to achieve success in his sport of choice. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Using failure to direct you to success
When thinking of success and failure, people usually picture something like this:

success and failure

Often, failure and success are on the same path. A failure does not take you in the opposite direction of success. It’s simply a pit stop on the way there. Failure is a chance to reassess, learn, and renew your dedication to keep going.

The only thing you have any control over is how you react
You have no control over what happens. The only thing over which you have any control is how you react. How you decide to go forward. Negatives and setbacks are simply a part of everyday life. The mindset you cultivated in times of failure will continue to help you deal with negatives throughout the rest of your career.

The fuel of failure
In the Huffington Post article Overcoming Failure and Disappointment, William Bradshaw recounts the stories of Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth and Thomas Edison, all of who used spectacular failures as stepping-stones to success of even greater measure.

After Richard Branson flunked out of school, his head master told him he’d either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Richard Branson didn’t become a millionaire; he became a billionaire, creating eight businesses worth over a billion dollars apiece. In the words of Richard Branson, “Don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

Failure and adversity are what we need to grow towards success. Failure has taught us the lessons we need to learn. It can make us stronger and more resilient. It can help us truly define our objectives and re-set ourselves on a straighter, surer course.

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