What To Do When You Fail – 12 Smart Moves To Make

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what to do when you fail

Although failure is a normal part of the human experience, there’s a high probability that you do not know what to do when you fail.

You’ll realize soon enough that the difference between people who fail and succeed is their perspective of failure. While the first sees failure as an opportunity to learn and evolve, the second party sees failure as a final stamp on their inability to progress.

For you to make the most out of your life, you must ensure that you have a healthy approach to how you see both failure and success.


What To Do When You Fail – 12 Things

Here are 12 of the smartest things you can do when you fail.

1.  Reflect On The Failure

One of the finest answers to the question “How do you respond when you fail?” is reflecting and thinking about the failure you experienced.

When you face failure, taking time to reflect is crucial. It’s a chance to learn and grow. Begin by acknowledging what went wrong without self-blame. Understand that setbacks are a part of life.

Next, analyze the situation. What choices led to this outcome? Could you have done things differently? This insight is valuable for future decisions.

Consider seeking feedback from others. They might offer a different perspective. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help or advice.

Don’t dwell on the past. Use your reflection to set new goals and create a plan. Failure is not the end; it’s a stepping stone to success.

In this process, be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is key. Remember that everyone fails at some point. Use failure as motivation to strive for better results in the future.

When you fail, reflect without blame, analyze, seek advice, plan for the future, and practice self-compassion. This approach turns failure into an opportunity for growth and improvement.


2.  Accept Responsibility

One of the ways you can begin to know what to do when you fail is to accept responsibility for your failure. Accepting responsibility for your failures is a vital step in personal growth.

When you make a mistake or experience failure, it’s important to acknowledge your role in the situation. This doesn’t mean blaming yourself excessively but recognizing that your actions or decisions contributed to the outcome.

Taking responsibility shows maturity and accountability. It empowers you to learn from your mistakes. By owning up to your failures, you gain control over your actions and can make positive changes.

Avoiding blame-shifting is key. Don’t point fingers at others or external circumstances. Instead, focus on what you could have done differently. This mindset shift lets you take charge of your future and make better choices.

Remember that accepting responsibility is not about dwelling on the past or self-punishment. It’s about learning, growing, and moving forward. It’s a valuable skill that leads to resilience and success.

Make it a deliberate act to accept responsibility by acknowledging your part in the failure. This paves the way for self-improvement and better decision-making, ultimately helping you achieve your goals.


3.  Learn From Your Mistakes

what to do when you fail

Another way to know what to do when you fail is to take a few lessons from your mistakes and errors. Learning from your mistakes is a powerful way to turn failure into progress.

When you experience failure, it’s not the end of the road; it’s an opportunity to gain valuable insights and grow.

First, take time to reflect on what went wrong. Identify the specific actions or decisions that led to the failure. This self-awareness is the first step in the learning process.

Next, understand why those actions or decisions didn’t work. This helps you avoid repeating the same errors. It’s like creating a map of what not to do in the future.

Once you’ve identified the lessons, use them to make positive changes. Adjust your approach, set new goals, and create a plan to achieve them. Mistakes become stepping stones to success when you apply what you’ve learned.

Don’t be discouraged by failure. It’s a natural part of life. Embrace it as a teacher, and you’ll find that each setback brings you closer to your goals.

Learning from your mistakes is a skill that can lead to resilience, personal growth, and future accomplishments.

Whenever you find yourself with failure, take time to reflect, understand why it happened, and use those lessons to make positive changes in your life. Learning from your mistakes is the path to continuous improvement and success.


4.  Set New Goals

Sometimes knowing what to do when you fail begins with making a fresh start. Setting new goals is a powerful way to move forward when you face failure. It helps you shift your focus from past setbacks to a brighter future.

Start by taking a step back and reevaluating your aspirations. What do you want to achieve? Define clear and achievable goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, and time-bound.

Setting new goals provides a sense of purpose. It gives you something to work towards and can reignite your motivation. This process can be a chance to reassess your priorities and steer your life in a direction that truly matters to you.

Remember that it’s okay to start small. Achieving even small goals can boost your confidence and propel you toward bigger ones. Take one step at a time.

To stay on track, create a plan with actionable steps. Break your goals into smaller tasks, and mark your progress. This keeps you accountable and motivated.

It’s essential to remain flexible. Sometimes, your goals may need adjustments along the way. Adapt and learn as you go.

Setting new goals after failure offers a fresh start and a sense of purpose. Make your goals clear, realistic, and time-bound, and create a plan to achieve them. This process helps you stay focused, motivated, and on the path to success.


5.  Seek Feedback From Experienced People

Seeking feedback is one of the ways of knowing what to do when you fail. It’s like asking for guidance on a path you’re not familiar with. Feedback from others can provide you with valuable perspectives and insights.

When you fail, it’s common to feel disappointed or confused. This is where seeking feedback can be a game-changer. Reach out to people you trust, whether friends, mentors, or colleagues. Ask them for honest thoughts about what went wrong and how to improve.

Feedback can be like a mirror, showing you aspects of your actions or decisions that you might have missed. It offers a chance to see your situation from different angles and gain a more comprehensive understanding.

Don’t be afraid of criticism; it’s a gift. Constructive criticism helps you identify areas for growth. It can be the catalyst for positive change and progress.

Remember that feedback is a two-way street. Listen carefully, ask questions, and be open to suggestions. It’s not about defending your actions but learning and evolving.

After you face failure, seeking feedback is a smart move. It provides fresh perspectives and constructive insights to help you learn and grow. Embrace feedback as a tool for improvement, and it will help you on your journey to success.


6.  Stay Persistent

It’s common to hear people make statements like, “I tried my best but still failed”. What most people do not know is that one of the ways you can know what to do when you fail is by staying persistent.

Staying persistent when you encounter failure is like having an unshakable belief in your goals, even when things get tough. It’s a key trait of successful individuals.

Failure can be discouraging, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, use it as motivation to keep going. Remember that many accomplished people faced multiple setbacks before achieving their dreams.

Maintain your focus on your long-term objectives. It’s essential to remind yourself why you started in the first place. This can reignite your determination and commitment.

Setbacks can be like roadblocks on your journey. Don’t let them stop you. Find a way around, over, or through them. Be flexible and adapt your approach as needed, but never lose sight of your destination.

Stay patient as well. Success often takes time, and it’s not always a straight path. Keep in mind that persistence is about continuous effort and resilience, even when the going gets tough.

Surround yourself with support. Seek encouragement from friends, mentors, or peers. They can help you stay persistent and remind you that you’re not alone in your journey.

When failure comes your way, staying persistent is essential. Keep your eyes on the prize, stay patient, and adapt as needed. Your unwavering commitment will help you overcome obstacles and eventually achieve your goals.


7.  Embrace Resilience

Embracing resilience when you encounter failure is like having a strong shield against life’s challenges. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, and it’s a valuable skill to develop.

It’s normal to feel down when you fail, but resilient individuals view failure as an opportunity to grow. They don’t let it define them. Instead, they learn from it and become even stronger.

To become more resilient, focus on your mindset. Cultivate a positive outlook and the belief that you can overcome adversity. Recognize that failure is a part of life, and it doesn’t make you a failure as a person.

Seek out support from friends, family, or professionals when needed. Talking about your feelings and experiences can help you build resilience. It’s okay to ask for help.

Stay adaptable and open to change. Resilience often involves being flexible and adjusting to new circumstances. Think of it as being like a tree that bends in the wind but doesn’t break.

Remember that building resilience takes time. It’s a process, and you can improve it through practice. The more you face and overcome challenges, the more resilient you become.

When you fail, embracing resilience is a powerful way to weather the storm. Cultivate a positive mindset, seek support, and stay adaptable. Resilience is like a muscle that grows stronger with each setback, helping you confidently face the future.


8.  Adjust Your Strategy

Knowing what to do when you fail repeatedly is essential to be flexible and willing to adjust your strategy. Think of it as navigating a journey where you sometimes must change your route to reach your destination.

The first step is to evaluate what went wrong. Identify the specific aspects of your strategy that didn’t work. It could be the timing, your approach, or the resources you used.

Once you pinpoint these areas, don’t be afraid to make changes. Adjust your plan accordingly. This could mean trying a different approach, setting new goals, or reevaluating your priorities.

Keep in mind that failure is often a source of valuable information. It teaches you what doesn’t work, which can be as important as knowing what does. Use this knowledge to refine your strategy and make it more effective.

Seek advice and feedback from others who have experience in your field. They may offer insights that can help you adjust your strategy. Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone.

Stay patient and persistent during this process. Adjusting your strategy can take time and might involve trial and error. However, each adjustment brings you closer to your goals and increases your chances of success.

In your attempts to grow beyond failure, don’t be discouraged. Adjust your strategy by evaluating what went wrong, making necessary changes, seeking advice, and staying patient. This adaptability is the key to turning setbacks into stepping stones on your path to success.


9.  Stay Positive

what to do when you fail

Another thing you must pay attention to as you learn what to do when you fail is keeping a positive outlook. Staying positive when failure knocks on your door is like having a bright light in the darkness. It can be a challenging task, but it’s a crucial one.

Failure can bring feelings of disappointment, frustration, and self-doubt. However, maintaining a positive outlook can make a big difference in how you handle it. It’s about believing that even in tough times, better days are ahead.

Start by focusing on the lessons you’ve learned from your failure. This shift in perspective can turn a setback into an opportunity for growth. Remember that many successful individuals face multiple failures before achieving their goals.

Surround yourself with positive influences, like supportive friends and mentors. They can lift your spirits and encourage you when you need it most.

Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness, just as you would a friend. Don’t be too hard on yourself for your mistakes; instead, use them as stepping stones to move forward.

Set achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Recognize your progress, no matter how minor, and use it to fuel your optimism. Each step counts on your journey.

It’s easy to feel sad when you fail but staying positive is all you need to get back on track. Rather than go around with a grumpy face, focus on lessons learned, seek support from positive influences, be kind to yourself, and celebrate your achievements.

Positivity is like a guiding star that can lead you through the darkest times and towards your desired success.


10.  Surround Yourself With Support

To understand what to do when you fail, one of the things you must do is ensure that you aren’t alone. When failure casts a shadow, surrounding yourself with support is like having a safety net to catch you. It’s a crucial step in handling setbacks.

Failing can be isolating, but you don’t have to face it alone. Reach out to friends, family, or mentors. Share your feelings and experiences with those you trust. They can provide emotional support and different perspectives you might not see.

A strong support system can boost your morale. Their encouragement and belief in your abilities can reignite your self-confidence. They can remind you that you’re not defined by your failures but by your resilience.

It’s essential to communicate openly. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or help when you need it. Others may have faced similar challenges and can offer guidance or solutions.

Surrounding yourself with support is a way to share the emotional burden. It can help you see the silver linings in failure and make the path to success less daunting.

If and when you encounter failure, lean on your support system. Open up to those you trust, seek guidance, and let their encouragement light your way. Together, you can transform a setback into an opportunity for growth and eventual success.


11.  Take A Break If Needed

what to do when you fail

Sometimes all you need to do to know what to do when you fail is a short break. Sometimes, when you face failure, taking a break is okay. It’s like hitting the pause button in a challenging video game to regain strength and strategize.

Failing can be emotionally draining. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed or disheartened. Taking a break doesn’t mean giving up; it means recognizing your need for rest and recovery.

During this break, step back from the situation that led to failure. It’s a chance to clear your mind, reduce stress, and regain perspective. Engage in activities that relax you or bring joy, whether reading, walking, or spending time with loved ones.

A break can help you process your feelings and thoughts. It’s a way to heal and refocus. Consider it a timeout that allows you to come back stronger and more determined.

Remember that taking a break is not a sign of weakness. It’s a smart move to ensure your well-being and mental resilience. It’s like recharging your batteries before tackling a challenge with renewed energy.

When you experience failure, taking a break, if needed, is a wise choice. It’s a chance to rest, clear your mind, and regain your strength. Think of it as a pit stop on your journey, ensuring you continue with determination and resilience.


12.  Keep Moving Forward

Knowing what to do when you fail in life begins with being ready to make progress, irrespective of the obstacles. When failure knocks you down, one of the most important things you can do is to keep moving forward.

It’s like walking a path with obstacles; falling doesn’t mean you should stay down. The first step is to accept that setbacks are part of life. Don’t dwell on your failures; view them as stepping stones on your journey to success.

Remember, even the most successful individuals have faced failures along the way. Break your journey into smaller steps. Each step forward, no matter how small, is progress. Achieving these small victories can boost your confidence and keep you moving.

Learn from your mistakes, but don’t let them hold you back. Use failure as a teacher, not a jailer. Adapt your strategies, but don’t let fear of failure paralyze you.

When failure happens, remember that it’s not the end; it’s a chance to grow. Keep moving forward with determination, focus on your goals, learn from your mistakes, and rely on your support system.

This resilient attitude is the key to turning failures into future successes.


What To Do When You Fail In Life?

Questions like “What to do when you fail in life?” can provide helpful pointers in navigating failure.

There are many things you can do when you fail. However, the most important thing to do is see your failure as an opportunity to learn, not a setback.

Doing this completely reshapes the way you see failure and allows you to begin the process of learning from your mistakes and errors.


For You

If this has been especially helpful to you, I think you should also address the issue from the root which is to understand possible reasons why you could be failing. Check out the article on it here.



Although failure is a very interesting event/aspect of life, many people are poor at dealing with it. How you handle it reveals your mindset and perspective of how you see life and can make all the difference in your personal growth and journey to success.

Knowing what to do when you fail will help you learn and make you someone who can easily adapt and take on new skills to achieve your goal. As you practice the above tips, ensure that you never forget to see failure as an opportunity instead of a setback.

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Author: Afam Uche

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