How to handle failure in life.
This is a big question.
And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), this is a question that I’ve had to constantly answer for myself.
See, here’s the thing.
My life has been characterized by pretty extreme amounts of failure.
I’ve failed at all kinds of stuff.
I’ve failed at relationships, business endeavors, personal goals, fitness plans, diet plans, friendships, etc.
But even with all of that failure, here’s the truth:
The baseline truth about my life is that, overall, I’ve made a lot of positive forward progress.
Ever since my life crashed and burned back in 2017—and ever since I had to perform a total life reset on my way out of a failed 10-year marriage—my life has been on a steady increase in overall levels of success and progress.
- I’ve become a better person.
- I’ve experienced more success of all different types.
- I’ve created (and been fortunate enough to come across) many different types of positive opportunities for myself.
- My fitness is better than it’s ever been.
- I earn more money than I’ve ever made.
- My business prospects are looking better than ever.
- My relationships are healthier than ever.
- My dating life is literally leaps and bounds better than it has ever been at any point in the past.
And yet, I still fail on an almost daily basis.
I may not fail at everything. And I may not fail so catastrophically that my whole life collapses.
But I do experience failures.
The difference between my life now and how it was back before my life crashed and burned in 2017 is simply this.
In light of the catastrophic failures of my past, I’ve learned how to handle failure in life today so that I can actually pick myself up and continue on to create success instead of letting the failure defeat me forever.
And this is really the secret to achieving success (and overcoming failure) in the long term.
So in this post, I’m gonna get very honest with you, and share the 9 methods that I’ve learned to use in my life to learn how to handle failure in life while still picking myself up and still managing to achieve success and overall forward progress.
This isn’t always an easy process.
But when you start using these methods, you’ll start to see some really positive forward momentum and progress, despite the failure—and that’s really the key to it all.
Let’s dive into it.
How Do You Handle Failures In Life? These Are The 9 Methods That I Use
1. Accept That Failure Happens
A lot of people don’t like the idea of failure—and for good reason.
To a certain degree, failure sucks.
- It hurts your feelings.
- It makes you feel worthless.
- It makes you feel like you’re not capable of doing the important things that matter to you.
- It can demoralize you and feel like a swift kick to the stomach.
Nobody wants to wake up (or go to bed) thinking to themselves:
“Wow, I’m such a cataclysmic fuck up. I can’t do a single thing right.”
But listen, the first thing you need to accept is that failure is inevitable in life.
And to be really honest, it has zero bearing on how successful you’re going to become in the long term.
Experiencing failure is a lot like experiencing sunshine, rain, human interaction, and taxes.
At some point in life, you’re just going to experience these things—regardless of how much you try to avoid them.
Instead of thinking of failure as the defining mechanism for your life, it’s important to remember that what defines you isn’t whether or not you experience failure, but how you handle it when it happens.
And that’s truly the key to the process of refiguring your relationship with it.
So when it happens, just stop and take stock of it. Don’t react with a bunch of emotion. Instead, be calm and logical, so that you keep from doing further damage with your reaction to it.
2. Learn From It
If you regularly read my blog posts, watch my youtube channel, or listen to my podcast, then you know that I espouse what I call the alpha mentality.
The alpha mentality is simply this:
It means: to take action-oriented, intentional control of your life energy, resources, and strategic trajectory—embracing radical self-responsibility, shirking victim mentality, and determining to utilize your time and resources wisely to proactively create a meaningful, signiﬁcant destiny and lasting legacy of greatness in the world.
With that being said, whenever we face failure in life, it’s crucially important that we learn from these failures so that we can really pick ourselves up and improve our chances for success the next time around.
If you want to learn more about how to learn from failure, and actually use it to help you succeed in the future, you should read this blog post: How to Have Faith In The Future – 8 Tips For Life Success.
But learning to use failure as a teaching mechanism for yourself for the future is vital to the alpha mentality, and crucial for succeeding in becoming a successful alpha in your own life.
3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Failure is going to beat you up.
- It’s going to make you feel like shit.
- It’s going to make you feel worthless and pathetic.
- It’s going to make you feel tiny, small, and weak.
Thankfully, these feelings don’t last forever.
However, a lot of people make it even worse by beating themselves up over it.
I’ve learned that there’s literally no value in beating yourself up over failure.
Instead of beating yourself up over it, judging yourself for it, or being ‘down’ on yourself, simply tell yourself that this is a fact of life.
This is just a part of the journey.
When you experience failure, instead of beating yourself up, give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself that you tried your best.
Encourage yourself by saying:
“That’s okay. We’ll try again tomorrow. And next time, we’ll make it work.”
Forgive yourself by saying:
“Look, you did the best you could. Failure sometimes happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. So today, we’re going to pick ourselves up. We’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to try again. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. The show ain’t over.”
This is the kind of inner dialogue we need to be having with ourselves about failure.
Do not beat yourself up.
Encourage yourself to get up and keep moving—and don’t give up on yourself.
4. Make A Plan To Overcome It
This is a crucial and foundational principle of the alpha mentality.
When you face failure and you get knocked down, don’t give up and sulk back to your comfort zone.
There’s a reason why you’re out here trying things and failing.
It’s because you’re on an adventure.
You’re on the great adventure of your own life.
I call this ‘the hero’s arc.’
The whole reason you’re out here failing is because you’re trying to achieve something bigger and better for yourself.
So when you get knocked down by failure, don’t think of it as being the end of the road.
Instead, when you get knocked down, absorb the information you’ve learned from it.
Then, create a new plan to back engineer the new information you’ve learned, and give yourself an even better chance of succeeding in the future.
Listen, when you fail at something, you’ve just learned a great deal about how to overcome it the next time around.
Use that information to your advantage by making a plan to overcome the problem in your next attempt.
Sometimes it may take 3, 4, 5, or even 10 different tries to really achieve something that you’re trying to achieve.
But if you learn new information through every failure, and then you incorporate that information into future plans, guess what?
You are increasing your odds for success the next time around—and this is a powerful technique to help give yourself an advantage on the journey.
5. Understand That Life Is A Game Full Of ‘Wins’ And ‘Losses’
I don’t care who you are, what you’re trying to do, or how good you are at doing it.
You are going to face wins and losses in life.
In fact, you’re probably going to experience more losses than wins.
There are a lot of fake people in the world right now (and they’re ALL OVER social media) who try to make it sound like if you don’t achieve short-term, fast, and massive success, you’re not as good as them and you’re not doing it right.
I’ve made a lot of forward progress in my life.
And I’m really good at a few different things.
And I’m here to tell you that success is absolutely possible for all of us, but only if you’ve gone through enough failure to make it happen.
Don’t fall prey to these ridiculous ad campaigns that try to make other people sound like they’re geniuses who never fail.
The truth of the matter is that no matter what you’re doing in life, if it’s worth pursuing, you’re going to experience some failure along the way while trying to do it and succeed at it.
Not only is this normal—it’s just a part of life.
So accept it, and stop beating yourself up when you do fail.
Instead, learn from it and move on.
6. Allow Yourself To Feel Down Sometimes
I talk a lot about picking yourself up and trying again.
And while this is important, it’s also important to understand that sometimes you’re just going to feel down about stuff.
- Sometimes, failure just hurts like a bitch.
- Sometimes, failing at something really feels like getting punched in the face, and makes you feel like you’re nothing.
And when this happens, sometimes there’s just no fast solution for it.
Sometimes, you just need to feel shitty for a while.
Personally, for me, back when my life really fell apart back in 2017 and everything was collapsing around me, I would spend entire days laying in my bed just being depressed.
The depression was so heavy that I didn’t really have the energy to do anything.
Eventually, I found ways to motivate myself to get up and start making progress.
And thankfully, nowadays, my depression never gets that bad.
But sometimes when I fail, I do have to give myself permission to feel shitty for a few hours, or even for a few days.
Sometimes I’ll put a stop to my whole day, and just take a nap for a few hours—just to get through the ‘funk’ of feeling like shit because of a failure.
I’m a very positive guy. In fact, you could say that I’m even a radically positive guy.
I also have a lot of confidence and hope for the future.
I’ve come a long way on the alpha journey, and I tend to conquer most of the challenges I set my eyes on in life.
But I’m still going to be dead honest with you. Sometimes, when I fail, I feel like complete and total shit.
I feel like I’m not worth anything, and I feel like my whole life is just going to go downhill because of my failure.
And sometimes, there’s just no fast track to fixing that.
You just have to let yourself feel it, vent to a friend, hug your loved ones, pet your cat, watch a movie, play a video game, have some bomb sex, or find some way to make yourself feel better so that you can get back on the horse and keep moving.
It isn’t always easy.
And you’re not always going to handle it perfectly.
I just want you to know that it’s normal to feel shitty about it sometimes—and that sometimes you need to allow yourself to feel that way for a little while so that you can go ahead and go through those emotional motions so that you can get them out of the way and out of your system, and then carry on later.
7. Talk About It And Vent About It
If I’m having an exceptionally bad day, sometimes I’ll call a trusted friend and just vent about my problems.
I’ll often clarify the fact that I’m venting by saying something like:
“Hey, I’m having really shitty day, and I just need to vent about this a little bit. Would you mind listening to me while I vent?”
And as long as they say that they’re fine with it, I’ll go ahead and vent all of my negative feelings.
I learned this technique by reading the work of Robert Augustus Masters. He calls this a conscious rant.
This is a really important skill.
Sometimes, you just need to vent to a trusted loved one and get it out of your system.
Sometimes, for me, the magic cure to overcoming failure is to sleep.
If I experience a really gut-wrenching incident of failure on any particular day, it’s not so uncommon for me to put a hold on my work, cancel my appointments for a few hours, and go to bed.
Personally, failure tends to make me feel really tired.
It saps my energy, and it just makes me feel weak.
So I’ll put my work on hold for a few hours, set my alarm, climb into bed, cover-up, turn the air conditioner down to the point where it’s freezing, cuddle with my cat—and just sleep it off.
Then, when I wake up, I usually feel fresh, energized, and ready to make a plan to deal with it.
Now, this isn’t the only method I use to help me deal with failure in life—but I’m sharing it because it’s been a really successful and consistent tool for helping me to deal with some of those failures that are just really hard to get over.
9. Deploy The Alpha Mentality To Try Again And Overcome
Personally, for me, the alpha mentality was what gave me the power and the strength to start achieving overall better life success for myself despite my failures.
When I started living in true alpha mentality, I started overcoming my failures and creating more life success for myself. This is when I started making legitimate forward progress, and when I started to actually see positive results on the other end of my effort.
(Note: If you want to learn more about this alpha-mentality business, download my free ebook: An Introduction To The Alpha Mentality: The Evolutionary Key To Succeeding At Dating, Relationships, Business, Fitness, And Everything Else That Matters. It’ll explain everything you need to know to get a basic understanding of what this means.)
You can also read the 18 vows of the oath of kings and queens, which is my personal alpha code, to give you a bit more insight into how the alpha mentality plays out in day-to-day life.
But the simple fact of the matter is this:
Without some kind of a code, system, behavior filter, or philosophy to help you find your way in life, you’re going to be left struggling to find your way—tossed and turned by the whims of your emotions.
This is fundamentally what I call the beta mentality, and it’s exactly the reason for why my life hit such a cataclysmic low point back in 2017 when my marriage fell apart.
Before that point, I had no code or system for how to create success for myself—and I ended up just crashing and burning my life because I was in total reaction mode, just reacting to the chaotic whims of my emotions.
And the chaos that this caused had incredibly destructive effects on not only my life, but also the lives of the people around me.
And ultimately, I had to learn to change my ways—and the alpha mentality was what helped me to create that change.
So, personally, I would tell you to really look into the alpha mentality and see if it may be a mentality that could help you to achieve more success in life, despite the failures you’re going to face.
Once again, we’re never going to completely do away with failure.
We just need to overcome it when it happens, move past it, learn from it, and make a plan for how we’re going to attack the problem again.
And if you keep doing that, you’re bound to make forward progress.
It’s a simple math problem.
What is the first step to handle a failure?
The first step to handling failure is to understand that failure is going to happen.
Then, you can pick yourself up off the ground, dust yourself off, assess the situation, figure out why you failed, and use that information to help you formulate an even better plan of attack the next time around.
Why do we fail in life?
We fail in life because life is full of challenges, mountains, and obstacles that we must face if we ever want to succeed at anything.
Life isn’t just an ‘easy road’ full of handouts. It’s full of adventure, conflict, and drama—and as alpha-minded men and women, it’s in our best interest to learn how to navigate failure successfully so that we can give ourselves our greatest possible odds for success in the long term.
How do I start my life again after failure?
If your life has literally hit a low point due to failure, you’re not alone.
Personally, I had to hit a total ‘life reset’ button and basically start all over again back in 2017, at the age of 30.
But if I can do it, so can you. And the best way to start is to keep consuming my content, and start learning more about how the alpha mentality can help you to overcome failure and achieve success in your life.
I hope that this post has helped you to understand how to handle failure in life, using some legitimate easy-to-understand tools that have worked for me.
Listen, I’m no wizard.
I don’t claim to know everything.
But I do know that these tips have helped to make my life better.
And I really do care about helping you to succeed.
So consider giving them a try.
At the very least, trying them may help you to identify some tools of your own that’ll help you to experience more success despite your failures in life.
And hey, that’s awesome.
It’s all about getting overall positive results and overcoming the failures to achieve the destiny you desire for yourself.
That’s all I’ve got for this one.
Go with grace my friends, and never give up the power.
This is Joshua Sigafus, signing off.