How to Fail Successfully: Turn Your Mistakes Into Growth Tools

Ken Larson

Get uncomfortable.
Screw up.

Then learn from it.


Failing might not be the quickest way to learn, but it might be the best way.

Learning what
not to do is just as important as any other success-preventing obstacle.
If you can learn to remove the fear from your actionable processes, failure simply becomes research.

Here’s a direct quote from Michael Jordan, perhaps the most highly-respected basketball player in history:

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Why are we all so afraid of failing?

We’re taught to avoid it at an early age, and the stigma never leaves.

“Don’t get hurt!”

“Don’t make a mess!”

“Don’t ask questions!”

But sometimes you have to break a bone.
Sometimes you need to play in the mud.
And sometimes you have to question the rules.

Since people are naturally attracted to successful individuals, we instinctively want to showcase those positive qualities.

But we’re afraid of what our friends and family will think when we don’t live up to their expectations.

Most of the time, we fail to realize that our own expectations are usually much higher than others. Keep this in mind as you continue through the process, and it will help alleviate the stressors of proving to everyone else that you’re a successful person.


Failure Provides Direction, and Mistakes are Great Growth Tools

When we start tasks, we typically dive in blindly. However, the more we fail, the more we understand what not to do and which directions have yielded a lack of success.

This tightens and straightens our path to success, and we can now use those mistakes as time-saving tools.


Here are some questions you can ask yourself on your journey to self-confidence:

What am I afraid of?

Determine what’s preventing you from taking risks or overcoming your toughest challenges.

What risks should I take?

Discover what personal and professional projects you need to accomplish in order for you to feel confident in yourself and at your place of employment.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Absorb the idea of the worst potential outcome, and ready yourself to tackle the project.

What did I learn?

Figure out which processes can you eliminate from your next attempt.

What’s next?

Prepare yourself for your second…or third…or fourth…endeavor.
You got this!

Failure Isn’t Something to Scoff at. Even at the Hiring Level.

Employers want to hire individuals who can appropriately take and evaluate risk.
However, the only way we can honestly and properly evaluate is through failure.

After enough times, we should be able to understand the problems that may arise in any given phase of the process.

Here’s the catch.
Your failures aren’t what’s attractive to these employers. It’s your determination to complete the tasks, and how you can prove you’ve learned from it.

Keep Trying. Own Your Mistakes. Fail Successfully. Click To Tweet

The less you try, the less you’ll fail, but the more times you fail, the more attempts will result in success.

Once you build a tolerance for defeat, the less guilty you’ll feel as you continue to work within the “it’s okay” parameters you’ve set for yourself.


Arrogance Vs. Confidence

There’s a big difference between arrogance and confidence, and it’s apparent in the attitude displayed toward the outcome of your endeavors.

An arrogant person will argue that the mistake would not have been made if a certain individual or obstacle wasn’t a driving force behind the misstep. This person will likely use the same tactics on their second attempt.

A confident person will accept that their failure is, in fact, their failure, and he or she will take note of their tactics that led them down the wrong path. They will then use this as a tool to create a new strategy for success.


If you want to be successful, learn how to get uncomfortable, and get rid of your arrogance.

This process will build confidence and the ability to laugh about your mistakes.

What risk can you take today?

What do you fear?

Let’s talk.

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