Abraham Lincoln (a bankrupt President), Walt Disney (MGM said his Mickey Mouse would terrify women), Henry Ford (his Quadricycle failed miserably), Bill Gates (his first device Traf-O-Data didn’t work), Steve Jobs (remember the Lisa development fiasco) and many others – the list of failures who turned their setbacks into successes is quite exhaustive.
If you think that they just got lucky, you are mistaken. Being successful doesn’t have much to do with luck; it is more about the sincerity of your efforts and your determination to reach your goals.
All this seems to be good to read but the question is – how do you transform your failure into success? Before you try to turn your failed attempts to something good, you need to give success a thought.
What if Edison had stopped in his attempts to create the light bulb because of his failures? What if Bill Gates had given up the idea of Microsoft because Traf-O-Data didn’t work? Well, the world would have lost much, wouldn’t it!
The key to success is simple focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past. If you want to have a go at how to do it, here are a few easy, and sure, ways to bounce back after a setback.
Don’t label yourself a failure
“Just because some people treat you like a loser, it doesn’t mean you are one. The thing that matters most is what you think of yourself. If there’s something you really want or someone you really want to be, then the only one standing in your way is you.” This quote from ‘Shrek’ pretty much defines the point.
What others think of you doesn’t really matter; what you think of yourself is what matters. If you think of yourself as a failure, no one can make you anything else. However, if you believe in yourself, you can turn around your failure into success.
Never indulge in the blame game
It is much easier to blame someone else when you fail in your endeavor. It takes the weight off you. But does it really help? No; it doesn’t help in any way. If you let ‘fate’ take charge, you may never actually do anything to change things. You need to take charge and create your destiny.
Blaming your ill-luck wouldn’t do any good either. Don’t sit and ponder on what you could have done if you had known certain things when you started; you know the things now; use them to your advantage.
Extract feedback from failures
A failed attempt teaches something new. But the chances are that you are so eaten up by self-pity because of the failure that you overlook the lesson. Successful people don’t do this; they treat failure as part of life and work on the lesson to achieve their objective.
Henry Ford’s attempts to use gasoline-powered engines in automobiles failed. If he would have wallowed in pity, he would have failed to learn from it. He understood that he was trying to cater to many desires. He created a successful design based on this.
Experiment with different approaches
Sir James Dyson worked on prototypes of his bag-less vacuum for many years before he invented one that worked. How many of his prototypes failed? 5,126. Yes, you read it right! He just didn’t give up the idea and continued to work on it until he came up with the successful prototype.
Sometimes a specific approach doesn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you give up the entire attempt. Instead, you need to find another approach. This is what successful entrepreneurs do; this is what you need to do if you want the same results.
Set realistic goals
If you expect your startup to earn millions of dollars in the first year, you are preparing for failure, not for success. It is good to set goals, but it is useless to set goals that are simply impossible to achieve. Before you take any attempt, make sure you have a realistic expectation from it.
It is important to plan for success. However, it is also equally important to prepare for failure. You may or may not achieve success in your first attempts. This uncertainty makes it even more necessary that you are ready for the worst.
Play up your strengths
Don’t get busy fixing your flaws. Everyone has some. Doesn’t make all the difference when it comes to success! What makes the difference is how you focus on your strengths instead. What others regard as a flaw may turn out to be your strongest point, if you believe in it.
A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney saying ‘he had no imagination’. Well, if he had believed him and tried to fix his ‘imagination’, many childhoods would have had suffered. He reinvented imagination as we know it now!
Look forward to success
It isn’t a good idea to get stuck in the failure phase. You need to identify it for what it is – a temporary one. Only those who put their failures into perspective can move forward towards success. Those who see it as a flaw in themselves take it for a permanent thing.
Don’t let your failure pull you back. Instead, learn what it has to teach. And move forward. Only then would you be able to join the extensive list of people who turned their failures into stepping stones of their successes.