Failures and rejections are common in life. No matter what goals or success you are trying to pursue, you will face setbacks, challenges, failures, and make mistakes on your journey. However, it is not those setbacks and failures that determine your success, it is how you deal with them that determines how high you can bounce.
Let’s face it, failures are common. The key is how you deal with them when they come.
Successful people understand that failures are an important part of success. They treat failures as part of success, not the opposite of it.
They understand that the more you fail, the more and the faster you can achieve the success you want.
This is why extraordinary people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, etc., don’t run away or give up when they encounter difficulties. They press on and they find a way to make things work.
So, are you having difficult times in life right now? Are you facing failures and you have no idea what to do to bounce back?
Well, here are a couple of suggestions for what you can do…
1. They Turn Failure into Feedback
John Grisham is a successful author who has published numerous bestsellers including The Firm, which sold over 7 million copies. The book was then adapted into a movie starring Tom Cruise and also a 2012 TV series.
The thing is that Grisham did not start as a successful writer. Like all other writers, his book, The Firm was rejected by 28 publishers before being accepted by Wynwood Press in 1989.
So, how did Grisham handle the countless rejections and failures he faced? Well, he learned from the criticism.
Grisham turned his failures into feedback. This was what he said:
When my wife or my agent mark my stuff up, I want to punch them in the nose. But the problem is, usually they’re right.John Grisham
Grisham understood that if he wanted to build a successful career as a best-selling author, he needed to take in criticism to improve his professional skills.
This is why Grisham took all the criticism and bounced back higher from there.
How to Turn Your Failures into Feedback
You have to understand that failures are a part of success. They are not the opposite of success. Failures are on the same side with success.
Many times, people become wiser because of the failures they have gone through. As what Tony Robbins says:
Success in life is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgment.Tony Robbins
First, understand that failures are experiences. And the more experience you gain, the more successful you will be.
Hence, whenever you face a problem or fail at something, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
The moment you learn something out of your failure, you don’t really fail. In fact, you have gained better experiences to become more successful in your next attempt.
2. They Keep Making Progress
I want to show you the list of failures from one of the extraordinary people in history:
- 1809 – Born in a poor family in a one-room log cabin
- 1818 – Lost his mother at the age of 9
- 1831 – Lost his job
- 1832 – Defeated for the state legislature
- 1833 – Failed in business
- 1835 – His fiancée died
- 1836 – Had a nervous breakdown
- 1838 – Defeated for Illinois State
- 1843 – Defeated for the run for congress
- 1848 – Defeated for the run for congress the second time
- 1854 – Defeated for the run for U.S. senate
- 1858 – Defeated for the run for U.S. senate the second time
- 1860 – Elected as the President of the United States
The above is a list of failures from the then President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
You see, JFK faced many defeats and failures in life, but he kept making progress and continued to push forward. He never admitted his defeat.
You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.Maya Angelou
Do you know that J.K. Rowling is the first billionaire author in the world?
In 1990, inspiration struck her while she was on a train trip. She had the inspiration to write a story about a wizard boy and his magical adventures.
However, Rowling did not finish the story until years later. During those years, she went through some of the darkest moments in her life. Her mother died from illness, she was divorced, got no job, and had no money.
For the next couple of years, she had to survive on government welfare. But she did not give up on the idea of writing and publishing her storybooks.
After 5 long years of spending most of her time writing in cafes, she finally finished the first manuscript for her novel. She then submitted to 12 publishers but got rejected by all.
Finally, one year after that, a small publishing house, Bloomsbury accepted her manuscript and decided to publish her book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The publisher even told her to look for a job because it would be hard to survive and make money from selling children’s storybooks.
But as we all know, Harry Potter became the best-selling novel series selling millions of copies worldwide. That’s how J.K. Rowling’s persistence to keep making progress paid off.
For most people, after a year of not seeing any significant results, they would have given up. But not Rowling.
If you want to be successful, you have to keep making progress even when you face difficulties and failures.
Check out these 13 Most-Inspiring J.K. Rowling Quotes that Make You Stronger
How to Keep Making Progress Despite Failures
It is not easy to muster up the courage and keep making progress, especially when you are having tough times and failures are there to greet you.
But you must find a way to keep moving forward no matter what happens. You see, a winner will never quit, and a quitter will never win.
As long as you don’t quit and keep trying, you will eventually find the right way to do it.
So, how do you keep making progress despite failures? Well, here’s how: Remember your why.
Yes, your why is the most important key to success. It is the reason you pursue the success you want in the first place.
Hence, when you know your why, you will have the motivation and the drive to keep going.
But when your why isn’t strong enough or is vague, you will never get the motivation to push yourself further.
No matter what kind of success you desire, your purpose for achieving it needs to be strong enough so that you will do whatever it takes until you reach it.
Your why is the reason you act. And your why is what keeps you going.
So, find your why and always remind yourself of the purpose of why you want to be successful. That’s how you keep pushing yourself despite all odds.
3. They Find a Way
Here’s the difference between successful people and ordinary people – successful people never look at failure as failure, they look at failure as a temporary obstacle and all they need to do is to get rid of the obstacle.
Therefore, when successful people face failures on their journey, they don’t stop and quit, instead, they find a way and continue their journey.
You have to act and think the same. Failures are temporary.
When you fail at something, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just means that your way or your attempt isn’t working, and you have to find the right method.
In my previous blog post, I wrote about Spencer Silver turned failure into opportunity in a company called 3M:
In 1968, a guy named Spencer Silver was working on developing an ultra-strong adhesive for use in aircraft construction in a company called 3M.
Silver was supposed to make a super-strong adhesive, but due to his mistake, he created an adhesive called acrylate copolymer microspheres, which were a weak, pressure-sensitive adhesive.
The adhesive created was a failure. At that time, nobody wanted to use an adhesive that was weak, and many unable to find a profitable application for the technology.
5 years later, Silver managed to convinced Geoff Nicholson, the new product laboratory manager to give the product a go.
The only marketable idea for the adhesive was to use it as stick-able papers on the bulletin board.
After several more years of testing, the product was finally launched for the real-world and only available in 4 cities in 1977.
As expected, nobody wanted to buy the product and the sales were low.
Luckily, Nicholson did not give up. He came to understand that the reason the product was not selling well was that it was a new idea and most people have no idea about its value.
So in the year 1978, 3M tried one more time by sending large numbers of free samples to companies to try and then tracking how many of the companies actually re-ordered the product.
And to everyone’s surprise, nearly 90% of the companies given samples re-ordered the product, showing that there was a strong demand.
I bet you have heard the story of the Post-It Notes from 3M. But do you know that it was a failed product turned profitable?
In modern times, the company, 3M, sells around $3.5 billion worth of Post-It Notes annually. You can read the success story of the Post-It Notes from 3M’s website.
In short, don’t be stopped by failures or rejections, instead, find a way to make it happen.
How to Find a Way and Make It Happen
What you need to do is to change your perception or reframe your thinking.
Instead of looking at failures as something that stops you, treat it as a temporary roadblock, and get rid of it.
When you change the meaning of failure, you will start to think and act differently.
I strongly recommend you read this article from Entrepreneur.com, written by Ryan Holiday, one of my favorite authors.
Try to step back from the problems/failures and look from a bigger perspective.
Just like when you are lost in the forest, one way to find your direction is to get to higher ground so that you can see the entire forest from a bird’s eye view.
The same goes for when you face failures in life. Take a step back and think from outside the box.
Check out the story of how Archimedes discovered the water displacement theory. He was trying to solve a science problem and while taking bath, an idea struck him. The solution to the problem suddenly appeared and he was so delighted that he ran naked on the streets shouting “Eureka!”
Step outside of your problem and think from a bigger perspective, that’s how you find ways to overcome setbacks and failures.
4. They Don’t Give Up
Yes, successful people just don’t give up. When they fail, they don’t quit. Instead, they keep trying and trying, until they get it.
Watch this short video from Les Brown and learn his persistence in not giving up until he turned “no” into a “yes”…
That’s the determination of not giving up.
When you face failures in reaching your goals and dreams, don’t give up and keep trying.
When Stallone decided he wanted to become a star actor, the went for auditions. But he was rejected due to his wooden acting skill and his dopey looks.
But even after being rejected countless times, he refused to leave the audition room. He even pulled a chair and sat in front of the manager’s office until they gave him a chance.
After a couple of hours sitting down refusing to leave, the manager got moved and decided to give him a part to act.
Even though it was just a short few minute’s acts as an extra, the experience gave Stallone the first breakthrough. He knew that was exactly what he wanted, and his dream became even clearer.
And like all other extraordinary people, Stallone’s journey wasn’t an easy one. But he is 100% committed to his dreams and he is willing to do whatever it takes.
I suggest you read my blog post here about Stallone and how he overcame failures and setbacks in life.
How to Not Give Up
So, how do you not give up? How do you not quit?
Simple, commit 100% to the success you want. When you are fully committed, you will never accept “no” as an answer. You will do whatever it takes until you reach your goals and live your dreams.
When you decide, it means that you will not accept any other options or alternatives as the result.
Do you know that the Latin word for “decide” means “to cut off”? It means that you cut off all other options and will no longer accept other alternatives as the result.
Once you have decided to go for it, it’s a done deal. You will not make or give any excuse. You will make it happen no matter what.
That’s how you push yourself to not give up. Put in 100% commitment and never accept anything less.
Here are some useful resources to inspire and help you further:
Failures and setbacks are normal. They are a part of life. What is not normal is to learn how to overcome them and bounce back higher.
If you want to achieve extraordinary success in life, you need to master the skill to handle rejections, to push through setbacks, to turn failures into feedback, and to bounce back from all obstacles that prevent you from reaching the success you want.
Use the tips mentioned above to overcome failures and produce the success you want.
Are you inspired by this post? Leave your thoughts and let me know what you think in the comment section below. Cheers.