How to deal with failure

Egbert Haynes
How to deal with failure

Some falls are the means of getting up to happier situations. William Shakespeare

They say that there is nothing that leads to success more than failure itself. However, sometimes we tend to forget this and get carried away by the terrible feeling of frustration that we encounter after not meeting our expectations. Absolutely all people fail at some point. Sometimes mildly and sometimes resoundingly considerable. Many of the most illustrious names in history have told stories of utter failure before succeeding. How do you find the strength to keep going despite failure? Today we explain some guidelines to accept our failures and move forward with more wisdom and strength.


  • The psychology of failure
  • How to accept failure?
    • Accept how you feel
    • Learn
    • Don't take it personally
    • Invent a new point of view
    • Don't seek approval from others
    • Links of interest

The psychology of failure

Failure produces a great feeling of dissatisfaction that can block us and fill us with anxiety. Some studies have shown how the feeling of failure can affect concentration, attention and other cognitive abilities, sabotaging future performance. It is as if failure causes some people to reject themselves, instead of using it to learn from it.

Professor Martin Covington of the University of California found in an investigation that one of the strategies to protect our self-esteem is to believe that we are competent and demonstrate it to others. That is why, consequently, failure can nullify our self-esteem and makes us believe that we are not valid. However, this teacher also found that some people are not so afraid of failure and these are the ones who focus on learning for the simple enjoyment of learning, being the most oriented towards success..

How to accept failure?

Failure is part of our own learning. We could never have learned to walk if we hadn't staggered and fallen several times when we had barely any stability. But after a good tantrum, we would get up and do it again until we managed, step by step, to reach the arms of those who called us. To be happy you not only have to learn to be successful but also learn to fail. Here are some tips and reflections to help you overcome failure, learn from it and be at peace with yourself.

Accept how you feel

Those who see in every disappointment a stimulus for greater conquests, they have the right point of view towards life. Goethe

It is normal to feel damaged when you fail. We may have had high expectations about certain results and suddenly we must face the fact that reality does not match what we had wanted. Sometimes failure produces some dissatisfaction, but other times it is too painful, depending on the level of expectations and the importance of what we wanted to achieve..

Trying to look the other way and repress our emotions only worsens the healing process and does not allow emotional wounds to heal. Accepting how we feel and allowing those feelings to surface will make the process less painful in the long run. Remember that we are all human and we can make mistakes, punishing ourselves in an excessive way does not lead to a better result.


There is nothing to learn from success (…). Everything is learned from failure. David Bowie

As much as someone outside explains something to us, or we read a lesson in a textbook, there is no better way to learn in life than by failing. It is mistakes and subsequent learning that make us mature and wiser. A person who has never made a mistake could not have a realistic perception of life. Remember that failure also has a positive side and it is forcing us to analyze what mistakes we have made in order to change our actions. Even if we have not committed any, it puts us on notice to learn that in life not everything will always turn out as we expect and trying to live in denial would only lead us to a state of frustration and constant immaturity.

When you feel bad about a failure, try to honestly answer these questions:

  • What can I learn about this? Try to name only one thing
  • What can I change in my actions to make it better next time?
  • What changes in my performances would make me prouder of myself at other times, even if I failed again??

These conclusions will help us turn the page by learning from each of our failures from a more objective and external perspective..

Don't take it personally

A failure is a man who has made a mistake, but is unable to turn it into experience. Elbert hubbard

When we have failed, it is easy to tend to think that we are "doomed" to do it over and over again, that we are not made to be successful, and that everything we do will go wrong. We draw conclusions from concrete facts and internalize them as if those facts define us and become ourselves. But our identity is not composed only of these results and just because we have failed does not mean that by correspondence we are failed people. Many illustrious names in history have been people who have failed miserably before achieving success. Writers, musicians, politicians, athletes… lots of world stars have publicly explained their previous failures and how they decided to persist and not give up. That's the difference: Failure does not mean being a failure. You are only a failure when you decide to be one.

Invent a new point of view

"I have not failed. I have simply found 10,000 roads that do not work." Thomas A. Edison

In a society that trains us against failure from a young age, error has no place in our lives and this disturbs us a lot psychologically. From the time we took the first exam in school until we carried out our first job interview, we have been taught that success equates to happiness and that failure leads to an unsatisfied life, without being able to enter the University we wanted or access to the position we dreamed of. But this statement that we have totally established in our beliefs is not real, how many successful people, rich and famous, say they do not feel happy? How many say they feel really miserable despite the money or the status achieved? The level of happiness does not rest on our level of success but on how we accept ourselves and how satisfied we are in our own skin even when we fail deeply.

Changing this perspective is very important so as not to allow ourselves to be sunk by our failures. Why don't we start to think that if we fail it is because we are trying? Perhaps the more we fail, the closer we are to achieving it, because it means that we have not abandoned.

Don't seek approval from others

Those who quit are more numerous than those who fail. Henry ford

Don't seek approval from others. Sometimes you will not find it, simply because we live in a very competitive world in which each person has a different opinion, which may or may not be wrong. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because his boss thought he "had no imagination." "Carrie," Stephen King's first novel was rejected 30 times before it was published. And the list of successful people who were criticized or rejected before having it is immense. They were not carried away by the opinions of others.

We cannot expect or pretend to please everyone and when we fail we fear the criticism of others, what they will say and how to live with that "shame".

But it is your opinion that counts, not the other people who will also have to bear their own failures. Paying too much attention to the opinion of others only blocks us and paralyzes us. Do not forget that it is your life and you have the right to fail, just like everyone else.

Failure means living and trying to deny this fact is trying to deny reality. Not getting what we want can be a huge setback but at the same time a great life lesson. A lesson we only learn by living. When you're hitting a bump due to failure, don't forget to breathe and remember these beautiful words from Charles Dickens: Every failure teaches man something he needed to learn.

Links of interest

  • What is frustration and how does it affect us? Marta Guerri.
  • How to Overcome Failure: 9 Powerful Habits. Henrik Edberg.
  • Five Ways To Make Peace With Failure. Susan Tardanico.

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