Failure can be immensely painful.
Falling short of a goal or missing a target can be a major blow to your confidence.
However, a setback doesn’t mean that you are an intrinsically flawed or incompetent person.
It just means that you need to try a new approach.
The most successful people aren’t those who haven’t failed, but those who failed, learned from the experience, and kept going.
Here are 5 lessons you can learn from failure:
1. Failure builds character
Dealing with failure forces you to show resilience, face up to unpleasant facts, and be honest with yourself.
These are all excellent lessons to learn, and will serve you well in both your professional and personal life.
The more you fail, and the more often you have to adapt to changing circumstances, the stronger you will become.
Your experience will also enable you to support other people who need encouragement following a setback.
2. Failure can open doors to new pursuits and opportunities
You’ve probably heard the old saying – “When one door closes, another opens.”
Your failures can help you find new career avenues, new friendships, and even new romantic relationships.
For instance, you may drop out of a college course after failing your exams, but later choose a course that proves a much better fit.
Many people struggle to come to terms with a failed relationship, but later find someone who is a far better match.
Take a moment to think about the last time you met someone amazing, landed a good job, or had another piece of luck.
Everything that happened in your life – both your successes and your failures – lead to that moment.
Have faith that, in time, your failure will represent a turning point that will move you a step closer to happiness.
3. Other peoples’ disapproval or criticism doesn’t have to stick with you
Some people are quick to criticize those who fail, either because they lack empathy or because putting others down makes them feel better about themselves.
Fortunately, once you have withstood criticism on a few occasions, it starts to lose its impact.
You will begin to realize that it’s your opinion of yourself that really matters.
It’s up to you to decide which goals you will pursue, and what direction you will take in life.
4. Everybody experiences failure, even those who seem to have their lives in perfect shape
Although some people are hypercritical, others will quickly relate their own stories of failure when you confide in them.
Listening to others, particularly if they have gone on to enjoy success, will help you feel less alone.
In short, you will learn that failure is a common human experience.
You will also learn that lots of people are very good at concealing their real feelings, and keeping their personal problems well-hidden.
Even your closest friends might not open up about their experiences until you tell them about yours.
5. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your values
When you fall short of a target or standard you have set yourself, it may be time to consider what it is you want most in life, and whether your goals actually reflected your needs.
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in pursuing a goal that we don’t stop to check that it fits with our long-term plans and values.
For example, let’s say you have a specific goal: You want to be promoted to a senior management position by the age of thirty.
If your 30th birthday is looming and you’ve just been passed over for a promotion, it’s unlikely that you will meet your goal.
Naturally, you will feel disappointed and upset.
However, this kind of situation gives you breathing room to evaluate your life from a broader perspective.
To continue with the example above, you may have set your goal several years ago, when your first priority was earning a high salary.
Since then, you might have come to place a higher value on maintaining a good work-life balance.
On reflection, you might conclude that failing to get the job actually allows you to live in line with your current values, instead of those you used to hold.
Failure is truly a blessing in disguise
As you read through this list, you probably thought of a few instances in your own life where you learned from your mistakes.
Smart people get comfortable with failure, because they know it’s a normal part of life.
Reframe your attitude, and you too can cherish your mistakes along with your triumphs.