How to Productively Use Failure

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.- Napoleon Hill

Everyone fails from time to time. Surely, you did not learn how to ride a bike properly on the first try. More than likely, you fell down a few times. Maybe you got frustrated when you could not ride properly, especially if you had a friend who learned faster than you did. Some kids keep their training wheels longer than other kids because they need a longer time to learn how to ride.


Though you might not have been able to ride on the first day that you got your bike, you probably learned something about what you needed to do to stay upright. After a few tries and with some practice, you were likely flying down the streets of your neighborhood with no problem. With your first failures you learned important things about riding a bike. You learned how to start, how to balance, and how to successfully stop. Failure can lead to success, if you know how to use your failures productively. If you can learn from your failures, you can apply what you have learned to later attempts to succeed.

Every time you fail at something, you learn something new. So instead of seeing failure as something negative, try to see it as an opportunity to learn something new. This way you can be a happier person, someone who does not get terribly distraught or distressed over his or her failures. You can make them into something productive. Failures can come in all things, at school, at play, or at work. While not all your failures will be as clear cut as falling off your bike, you will always be able to learn from them. Many years from the first time you fall off your bike, you will be at work. Maybe you do not perform as well as you could on a project, or maybe the client chooses another company instead of yours.


Nonetheless you can learn from those situations. Maybe you should take more time to prepare for your next project. It could be that you should work with different people at your office so that you are more productive. If the client chooses another company, you should take the time to review what you said and did. Maybe you will find things that you can improve. When you fail, do not get depressed, discouraged or frustrated because you can turn the negative situation into a positive one.


Take a minute and think about what you have done and what you can do to improve yourself. Like learning how to ride a bike, you need to know how to start something, how to stay upright and balanced, and how to successfully stop without skinning your knees. You have already started learning from your mistakes.


Reader Actions! Will you continue to make your failures count and turn your failures into successes? What steps will you take to be successful today?



  • This may be just semantics, but there is a huge difference between failing or failure. I make mistakes, miss goals and fail. It never goes further because I keep trying. I generally succeed! If I did not succeed, I would call it a failure.

  • YFS /

    You're right there is a big difference between failure and failing. But, many people don't see it that way. What keeps you motivated to keep trying when you miss a beat or miss a step?

  • How to Productively Use Failure | Your Finances Simplified…

    Everyone fails from time to time. Surely, you did not learn how to ride a bike properly on the first try. More than likely, you fell down a few times….

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    How to Productively Use Failure | Your Finances Simplified…

    Everyone fails from time to time. Surely, you did not learn how to ride a bike properly on the first try. More than likely, you fell down a few times….

  • I agree with KC on this one. We are failures when we give up something that we didn't have to five up. Because there is time when one should stop trying at some things. I live by two things (and am doing all possible to get my son to understand them as well):

    1) Never give up withoput a good fight;

    2) It doesn't matter whether you win or not – what you do after that is what really matters.

  • Nice article YFS! Many successful people that we see have experienced many failures prior to their successes… what many people fail to see is the journey that it took to get there…. Sometimes failing can teach you some of life's greatest lessons that you can apply the next time around 😀

  • YFS /

    Maria I really like your 2nd point.

  • YFS /

    I agree 100% Unfortunately, sometimes while you're in the moment it's hard to see that it's the journey that matters the most. It took me a long time to realize that failing is not failure.

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  • I would agree. I operate on the motto try, try, and try again. There are some things I never do and they are technically failures but only partly. To me I succeeded in my efforts and my determination to exhaust all options before moving on.

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  • David /

    Very inspiring post Dominique. I am reminded of when Edison was asked about his 10,000 failed attempts to create the lightbulb.

    “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
    My recent post Affiliate Marketing Explained

  • URFinanceSimple /

    I love that quote!

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