How to turn failure into an opportunity

In the words of the 26th president of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything”. So, whether it’s setting up a company or pursuing other career opportunities, to progress you have to run the risk of failure. The important thing is not to let setbacks stop you striving for success. Here, we look at a few of the ways you can turn failures into opportunities.
Learn from your mistakes
Some of the most valuable life and business lessons can be learned on the back of mistakes. Trial and error is an important part of the learning process, and as long as you have the right attitude, you can take your disappointments and turn them into future triumphs. Many of the world’s most successful business people have taken wrong turns and become stronger and more effective as a result. A blog post featured on cited the example of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. One of his biggest flops at the helm of the technology giant was the release of the infamous ‘hockey puck’ mouse, which was shipped with the original iMac in 1998. Its awkward rounded shape was widely criticised as over-designed, quickly becoming an embarrassment for the company. Jobs wasn’t deterred though and he upped his game with subsequent Apple releases. The iPod, which came out just a few years later, is a classic example of tech that expertly marries form and function.
Acknowledge and own your shortcomings
Pride can play an important role in how we respond to failures. It can be tempting after making a mistake to blame others and try to absolve yourself from responsibility. This might make you feel better in the short term, but it can stop you from coming to important realisations about yourself and the way you do things. Acknowledging and owning your shortcomings might be uncomfortable, but it’s essential if you’re to make better choices next time. It’s also worth bearing in mind that people tend to have more respect for those who can admit their errors.
Be prepared to start over
After a failure, it’s important to have the courage to start over. Someone wise once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The logic of this is clear, but many people fear striking out in a new direction, even when they have evidence that their existing strategy isn’t working. For example, when people have worked hard to build a business, the thought of having to go back to the drawing board and start again can be hugely dispiriting. If you have the courage and imagination to try a new approach, you could transform your failure into future success.

It might not seem like it at first, but every mistake you make could be the start of something bigger and better – as long as you respond in the right ways.