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How to Turn Failure into Success

Thomas Edison first light bulb

Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times to make a light bulb, but each time the filament burned out shortly after turning the light on. Finally on October 19, 1879, he tried a carbon-based, high-resistance, filament. It stayed lit for 48 hours and 40 minutes. Asked as to how he could fail 10,000 times, Edison replied, "I didn't fail 10,000 times, I just found 10,000 ways that don't work"

While failure feels bad, you can end up on top with the right attitude. Accept your mistakes and learn how to approach problems differently. Listen to feedback and try new ideas. The important thing is ask yourself how you learn from your failures.

Moving On From Mistakes

Accept Your Mistakes

Accept that things did not work out as planned. Even if you worked especially hard on something, it's important to acknowledge and accept that it didn't work. Don't become obsessed at improving something that is done or not working.

For example, if you started a business that folded, accept that it didn't work out. It's not worth spending lots of money on something that isn't successful or that does not have a viable future.

Don't blame other people for your failures. Take responsibility, even if it hurts you. Say that you made mistakes, yet determine to improve for next time.

Don't let a previous failure stop you from trying a new venture in the future.

Take a Break

You may not want to jump right back into your project after a failure, and that's okay. If you're burned out or need some time to clear your head, take some time off. For some people, this may mean closing a project for some time while for others it may mean taking a vacation or road trip. You might start a different job or move onto a different project for the time being and wait to come back to your failed project.

Do what feels best to you. Rest and refresh yourself so that you can approach the project with new eyes in the future. Remember that leaving it for a while is not the same thing as quitting. But if you find that business is not for you, then that is okay too.

Investigate What Went Wrong

It might feel painful at first, but spend some time assessing why you failed. What went wrong or didn't work? For example, if you failed a test, think about how you studied for it. When did you start studying and how long did you study? Did you learn and memorize the information effectively? Do you need to study or learn in a different way? Answering these questions can help you learn from the experience and do better on your next exam.

Write down all the things that went wrong or may be the cause of a problem. Then, go through and pinpoint each weak area and come up with a different solution.

Learn Your Lessons

Don't analyze every little problem that went wrong or everything you "should" have done in the past. Instead, focus on what you've learned from these mistakes so that these lessons can propel you forward. With each mistake you make, ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?"

For example, If you buy something expensive that you're unhappy with yet you cannot return it, don't ruminate on how unhappy you are or how big of a mistake you made. Instead, use this as an opportunity to only shop at places that accept returns.

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