How to Overcome Failure

15 February 2023
By Vsevolod Klivak, Software Analyst
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Oh, well, that was not a success. I will share a secret with you: everyone makes mistakes and sometimes ideas or actions fail. That feeling of defeat can paralyze you, leaving you to make unreasonable decisions. But a quote from the movie Dune comes to mind: "Don't be scared. Fear kills the mind." Failure is an inescapable part of life, but it does not have to be the end. Instead, address the misfortune and salvage it to learn its valuable lesson. Today’s blog explores how to overcome failure, what to do to be more successful next time, and how to reach our highest potential.

Overcome failure by reframing the picture

No one has ever died from shame. Try to look at the given situation as a lesson, not a failure. Yes, your performance for whatever reason was not perfect. Should you consider that in the next project? Yes! Should you hate yourself for that? Of course not. Reframe failure as a lesson, not as a capitulation.

In addition to reframing, you can separate the aspects of the failure into smaller pieces and think about how to change them. Try to distinguish what was right and what was wrong. For the less fortunate moments, better to find some explanation and solution of how to address that in the future. Analyze the data to identify potential root causes and develop corrective actions to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

Be more successful next time by including others

Receiving feedback is a great way to help be more successful in the future. Asking for and taking feedback can help you understand what went wrong, what you can do better, and how to make positive changes to be more successful next time. Think about 3 to 5 colleagues who participated in the project with you and ask them about their perspectives on it. You can also ask that they share their experiences and give advice for future endeavors. Feedback is an important part of learning and growing by helping you understand where you went wrong and how to improve. When asking for feedback, make sure to be open to criticism and willing to take in what people have to say. It may be difficult or uncomfortable to hear but try not to take the criticism personally, and instead be thankful for the insights. Comments from colleagues about your performance can be a key part of learning from failure and improving for the future.

In addition to receiving feedback, take time to reflect on the failure itself. Take a critical look at your actions and decisions; moreover, consider what you could have done differently. Doing this can help you identify what went wrong and understand how to do better in the future. When analyzing what went wrong, it's important to be objective and honest. This can be difficult but acknowledging mistakes and learning from them is essential. Taking the time to reflect and identify where you went wrong can help you understand how to do better and be more successful next time.

Reach your potential by making plans for the future

Alright, you got some experience. Now it’s time to figure out how to use this new knowledge in the future. Instead of overthinking past mistakes and misfortunes, I suggest looking forward to the next project. Once the plan is in place, take action. This could include anything from making small changes to your work habits to seeking support from others. This time will be easier for sure, as you are aware of what pitfalls may arise.

Now I will share another secret with you: you will not always be successful in life. But that doesn’t have to be a negative when you see bad days today as preparation for good days tomorrow. Overcoming failure and being more successful is not just about making changes, it is a journey of self-discovery and growth. By reflecting on our failures, seeking honest feedback, and making a plan, we can learn from our experiences and make positive changes to become more successful and ultimately reach our highest potential.