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10 Ways to Come Back from Failure

If you’re like most of us, you detest failure. It’s one of the worst feelings to experience, let alone get past.

Yet, some failures are inevitable, while others may be avoidable. How can you best prepare yourself to come back from failure, when it happens? Here are some suggestions.

Analyze what went wrong

Maybe you didn’t adequately consider the amount of time, resources or other pertinent factors that affected the outcome. When things go wrong and failure is the result, there’s always a reason. Often, it’s a combination of reasons. To come back from failure, and as a first step in coping with failure, it’s important to take the time to figure out what went wrong, to analyze and dissect each step you took so that you won’t make the same mistakes again. This is a critical element in any plan to overcome the negative effects of failure.

Change your mindset

Nobody likes to feel like a failure or go through an experience that results in failure. If the underlying reasons for the failure are yours, you must own up to them. Don’t dwell on failure, however. And learn to regard failure as something entirely different: an opportunity to learn. Granted, when failure happens, it doesn’t feel particularly good. The last thing on your mind is how much you’ve learned from it. Though it may be difficult, train yourself to look for the lessons in every failure. It’s by recognizing and making full use of these lessons that you’ll rebound more quickly from the failed experience.

Search your motives

When you began the activity that ended in failure, what were your motives? Were you striving for personal gain at the expense of others? Did you manipulate, cajole, lie or avoid your responsibilities to get what you want? In your dealings with others, were you rude, inconsiderate, demanding, rigid or uncompromising? Your underlying motives play a big part in eventual success or failure of any action. By conducting a sincere self-search, you’ll uncover some painful revelations, yet this is the only way you’ll make progress in coming back from failure.

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses

The project flopped. You lost considerable money. Someone else got the promotion you felt you deserved. What do you do now, go and sulk or figure out a plan to get past this failure? A key step in the process is listing strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what you’re good at and where you need to shore up your weaknesses to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Develop a plan to build on what you’re good at

Now that you have a list of your strengths, you can begin to construct a plan to build on your talents and abilities. What led to your past successes? By tapping into that wealth of positivity and looking for ways to capitalize on your strengths, you’ll be acting in a forthright and proactive manner. Your most recent failure won’t stand a chance against a solid plan to move forward.

Seek advice from trusted others

Instead of feeling that you must go it alone, talk with others you trust and get their input. You may have a blind spot as to certain aspects of your character or be unable to see clearly what you did that resulted in failure. Friends, loved ones, family members, co-workers and others whose counsel you value will offer encouragement and support that can help you get through this rough time.

Begin something new

This is not the time to stagnate. It is, however, the time to get started on something new. Since you took the time to analyze your strengths and developed a plan to build upon them, use what you’ve learned to start a new project, get involved in a fresh endeavor, make acquaintances, acquire knowledge and skills. The momentum inherent in beginning something new is a positive force that propels you forward.

Stay busy

Sitting around after a failure is never conducive to overall well-being. It also gets you nowhere. If you haven’t yet finalized a plan of action, this doesn’t mean you remain idle. Do something. Exercise. Visit with friends. Read a book. Clean out the garage. Work in the garden. Help a neighbor. By doing things to stay busy you’re being proactive, not reactive.

Never lose hope

It’s tough to endure the sting of failure. If there was a miracle cure for failure, it would make billions, for everyone would line up to buy it. While there’s no single piece of advice or action that guarantees coming back after failure, the recommendation that you never lose hope is at the heart of overcoming failure. Hope is, after all, a powerful and life-affirming emotion. It fuels itself once fanned into flame. Keep hope alive and you’ll get past whatever failure you’ve experienced.

Envision success

In addition to keeping hope alive, start seeing yourself succeeding in your new endeavors. Envisioning success is a great part of being successful. When you see yourself in that reality, being successful at what you undertake, your subconscious mind constructs avenues and paths for you to get there.

10 Ways to Come Back from Failure


Suzanne Kane

Suzanne Kane is a Los Angeles-based writer, blogger and editor. Passionate about helping others live a vibrant and purposeful life, she writes daily for her website, www.suzannekane.net. She is a regular contributor to Psych Central. You can reach her at [email protected].


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APA Reference
Kane, S. (2018). 10 Ways to Come Back from Failure. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-ways-to-come-back-from-failure/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.