By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

You’ve probably heard the story of how Thomas Edison failed more than a thousand times before he finally produced a light bulb that works. Instead of looking at failures as mistakes, Edison acknowledged them as a successful discovery of 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb.

Throughout history, Edison and many other great men and women have proven that we can always “fail forward.” Their stories teach us that no one can be a total loser as long as one keeps trying. Here are uplifting lessons to keep in mind when setbacks threaten to dampen your spirit.

  1. Let failure refine—not define—you. For people with a teachable heart, committing and acknowledging mistakes enables them to turn pride into humility that, in turn, develops their character.
  1. Never associate setbacks with complete failure. Although not succeeding is surely disheartening, wallowing in self-pity for long will not help you move forward. Get up and try again.
  1. Consider failure as a stepping stone. Everyone is bound to fail at some point, but those who persist despite stumbling are the ones that usually succeed. Read up on famous people like Walt Disney, Isaac Newton, Charlie Chaplin, and J.K. Rowling to find the inspiration you need to keep going.
  1. Treat failure as a learning experience. Before making another attempt, evaluate your past actions, reflecting on what went right and what did not. Take note of what to avoid doing or what to do differently the next time around.
  1. Allow failure to help you pinpoint priorities and values. When you fail, you are forced to inventory what truly matters to you and to make the needed adjustments. One mistake people may make is focusing on the wrong things. If you value the right things, it often becomes easier to succeed because you have the passion and determination to chase after your dream.
  1. Consider if you need to seek help. Being self-sufficient may not always be the right approach. It won’t hurt to ask for and accept assistance from trusted partners. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one,” and that often applies to many situations.
  1. Credit failure for improving your financial perspective. Major debacles will force you to look at money-related things differently. Losing money through bad decisions will remind you to treat your finances with more care. As your decision-making skills improve, you’ll be creating a stronger foundation for future wealth and success.
  1. Thank failure for filtering out superficial friendships. Unfortunately, there are people who stick around only if they can get something from you and who disappear once you fall. While betrayal hurts, be comforted in the knowledge that true friends will not care about how much money you have or how you can continue to be of use to them. Know that real friends stay and motivate you to get back on your feet.

Ultimately, failure reminds us to look to a higher power for comfort and guidance. Personally, I rest my faith in God, knowing that everything happens for a reason and that failure teaches me lessons I wouldn’t otherwise learn if things always went smoothly.

Photo: Leonardo Shinagawa

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