The Constructive Side of Failure

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / August 14, 2012

My whole life, up until twenty-five years old, has been about proving myself. I’ve been proving what I can do, that I can pass by getting not just a good grade, but the best grade, and that I can keep up with the boys. Success in every mission had been my fortune growing up. That’s not to say that it was easy, it wasn’t. I always had to struggle, working hard to avoid “failure.”

“Failure” has always been the enemy because failure has been the bump in the road one is supposed to avoid by doing the correct thing. I was taught that the avoidance of failure was success. Therefore, failure became the ultimate enemy or disease that needed to be kept away. However, later in life, failure began to creep up even while doing the right things.

First time for everything

My first failure was silent and deadly. It just happened out the blue, I wasn’t prepared for failure and neither recognized nor realize what was happening. The sales of the business I was engaged in slowed down and no attempt was made to comeback from the fall. There was no plan of action in case failure occurred.

The prevailing thought was, when in business you work to avoid failure. But, this failure had nothing to do with my actions, which is why I didn’t see it coming. The financial economy and the industry I was in at the time just took a sudden nose dive. I was in shock and didn’t know what to do once the bottom was reached. I made no attempt to pick it back up because the fall made me realize I wasn’t doing something I liked very much to begin with.

That failure taught me many lessons. Business is not about making money from a hobbie. Business is brutal. As an entrepreneur you will lose money by default. And there are many unforeseen influences.

I learned that wanting to deal with the difficulties of an industry, navigating your way to a unique solution and problem solving on a daily basis is the kind of tenacity and passion required to be an entrepreneur and not just a hobbyist. I couldn’t just be in business because I could do something, my company needed to solve a problem, another business’s problem, or a market/industry problem.

Failure’s constructive nature by destructive forces

Over and over, I asked myself  “What do you do when you’re doing all the right things, yet failure is the outcome?” Failure can mentally and motivationally take you into a void, a place of emptiness caused by the destructive nature of failing. However failure can be constructive. We must learn tactics to deal with failure in order to cause that void to subside faster with each seeming failure.

Instead of beating yourself up over a failed occurrence, think of the whole situation differently. Maybe the whole thing wasn’t a failure, maybe you simply told the story of what happened incorrectly. Next time what you should do is say nothing until you have something positive to say about the turn of events. What we must do with failure is put a positive spin on the “change” that has caused the so called failure.

Failure is real but it’s not shameful like many of us are lead to believe, like the way it was in school. Yes, failure stings and it can break you down, but if something is never broken it can neither be fixed nor made better than it is. What you do next is all that matters.

Know this, failures does three things:

1.       Bolster creativity

2.       Open a door to other endeavors

3.       Reveals a truth about something you couldn’t see before.

Handling failure

We must realize that no one starts at the finish line or with all the answers. It’s all a learning process. Outside forces can come into play when encountering a failure. We must spin the circumstance to suit our goals and focus. The way to deal with a failure is not to think it was you, but to think what you will do with it. It is for you to spin it – to make it  work in your favor or learn something. You only fail if you don’t try to make every situation work to the benefit of your goal or your business goals.

We fear failing because most times we are trying to prove something to someone or the world. But, when we stop being self conscious and realize we don’t need to prove anything, we can begin to be self-centered as in self-focused. Without the need to prove anything, there is no judgement to fear from the occurrence of failure.

Danii Oliver is a New York City Creative Technologist, she doesn’t just think up great digital ideas she designs them, tests them, and can develop them all herself. As the CDO of DAMN Digital Studio LLC Danii and teammates consult with Enterprise level companies as the firms decided to move towards the digital aspect of advertising, marketing and branding.

About The Author


Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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