When Things Turn Sour, Sweeten Them Up

If you’re like most people, you probably hate the nonchalant approach to failure that’s so common these days, which is basically, failure is good! You can learn from failure! You can benefit from failure!

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~Thomas A. Edison

No, sorry, failure is not good. Smart people avoid failure. That being said, failure doesn’t have to be debilitating. So how do you deal with failure?

Here’s a list of 7 strategies for handling failure.

1. Change Your Mindset

You probably see things as black and white. You either succeed or you fail. There’s nothing in between. What if you thought of failure as something in the middle? Success is your destination. Various sorts of failure are just stepping stones on your way to eventual success.

Instead of setting goals for success, try to reduce the number of times that you fail. If, on your road to success, you hear the word “No” ten times, why not set your goal as only hearing “No” five times? Then three times. And finally, your goal is hearing “yes.”

Allow yourself a number of “nos” during the process, and then a no is just a stepping stone on the way to success. Part of the process is just reducing the number of times you hear “no.”

2. Celebrate!

Every time you reach your goal with even one fewer “no,” have a party! Buy yourself something nice. Go to a movie. You can actually reward yourself for failing less. How’s that for taking something sour and turning it into something sweet?

3. Keep Up Your Courage

When you’re afraid of failing, tell yourself to “man up.” Do this even if you’re a woman.

Never give up. Consider courage as a muscle that has to be constantly trained and strengthened. You can use this technique in your personal life as well as in your business dealings.

Remember that you’re a good person, a competent person, and generally speaking a successful person. Failure has no impact on your self-esteem. It’s something that happens to you from time to time – it has nothing to do with who you are.

4. Stay Humble

Remember that failure can be a sort of gift. Maybe not one you ask for, but still, you can use it. Keep in mind that in order to appreciate warmth, you have to know what it is to feel cold. To value light, you have to know darkness. In order to appreciate success, you have to fail. And with every single failure, you become more resilient, more powerful, and more able to appreciate your successes.

5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Take the challenges that life throws your way seriously. Yourself, not so much. Keep in mind that you’re just a cog in the greater machinery of life, and things are going to happen to you, both good and bad. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. Be resilient.

6. Learn From Your Failures

To use another tried and true axiom, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That might sound overly optimistic, but what’s the alternative? You’re going to say “Oh no, here come the lemons again?” Think about what you can learn from what looks like failure. Sweeten it up. Grab some sugar and make lemonade.

7. Develop New Ideas

You can learn something from every type of failure. What happened? What could you do differently next time? Can you get any feedback from other people who might have shared the experience? A lot of the time, all you get from success is “Great, good, now let’s move on to the next thing.” You don’t learn much from success. You do from failure.


Remember that no one ever got ahead without taking risks, falling ,and picking themselves up. Take what you can from the experience. There’s always something sweet to be taken from even the most sour experience, so take what you can, use it and move on to bigger and better things.

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