It seems like we have two options in life, either we succeed, or we fail. And when we fail at something we set out to do, most of us want to throw in the towel and never attempt to tackle it again.

But maybe it’s time to rethink failure. Failure is an excellent learning tool that can provide a vantage point that we might not gain otherwise. Here are four ways you can take your failings and use them to your advantage.

Become stronger

Most people think when we fail, nothing has been gained. We put hours of work and energy into a project…and the output is zilch. But that’s only an outside perspective. If we look within ourselves, when we fail at something, we learn what the ingredients are to succeed.
Only the harsh lessons of failure help us to understand our limitations and become stronger. If we take the time to reflect on how we feel during difficult times, we might find that we understand ourselves and the people around us a little better.

Use failure as motivator

When we recognize our emotions during a stressful situation, we’re better able to cope with difficult events and reduce feelings of depression.

For example, after you’ve been turned down from a job interview, the first response is probably going to be sadness or confusion. You may even begin to feel despair. But instead of seeing failure as the end of the road, try to see it as an inevitable part of the journey to improving yourself. Maybe that job isn’t a right fit for your life right now, so failure is a way of opening yourself up to better opportunities.

Failure is a lesson

Most people have a tendency to shy away from failure. If you don’t think you are going to succeed at something, you won’t even try. But the growth comes from those missteps. You will never know what you can achieve if you don’t put yourself out there and try.
This means opening yourself to failure. Instead of avoiding any possibility of failing, use your experiences to take you to the next level. If you view failures positively, you can start moving yourself in the right direction.

Apply the skills you learned from your failure

Showing up early, putting in the work, and being the last to leave doesn’t guarantee the results you want. As harsh as it sounds, sometimes wanting something badly enough doesn’t mean you’ll get it.

Failure hurts! When you put months or years of your life into something only to hit a roadblock, it feels like a waste of time.
But if channeled wisely, those skills from a failure can be applied to another facet of your life. In the process of working towards one outcome, we train ourselves to think and act in certain ways. Regardless of whether you reach success or failure, you still retain those skills, and it’s that learning process which shapes the person you become.

Instead of letting our failures dictate the end of the road, use your learnings from what happened to improve how you move forward, motivate you, and take you places you never dreamed possible.

Question: What failure from your past has positively impacted your life?