“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” J.K. Rowlings

There are always failures on the path to success. The secret is using your failure to help you succeed by learning something from it. Although failure always stings, the only tragedy is in not learning whatever lesson your failure can teach you.

Whatever endeavor did not work, learn why it did not work. Put serious thought into what went wrong, any mistakes you made, and then work on a plan to keep those same mistakes from happening again. If you have not experienced a significant form of failure, then chances are good that you are also never going to see great success.

Failure exposes our weaknesses and can be the biggest driver of innovation and creativity. When we fail we learn what didn’t work and that puts us one step closer to what might work.

The question is how are you using your failures?

Stop expending energy trying to avoid failure and instead focus on what it can teach you. Those who fear failure find themselves avoiding risk and in doing so, closing potential doors to great success.

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” John Wooden

Take a hard look at your failed endeavors and see if they can be re-purposed into something successful. Think of the iconic silly putty and the slinky. Both were failed attempts to fill military applications, but when re-purposed as toys they went on to make millions. So is there some part of your failure that can be re-purposed into something different? Even if it was not a product, but an idea or a contact that was not successful for the purpose you intended them for, don’t discount them as useless. Let your creativity take over and try to look at them in a new light.

If you cannot see an opportunity to re-purpose a failure, then enlist the help of friends, co-workers and business associates. Often, all that is needed to change failure into success is a fresh perspective. If that is not successful, then change your thinking. Instead of a failure, think of it as a great lesson for future use. It could be that the idea is sound, but the timing is wrong. Today’s failure could be tomorrow’s greatest success.

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you fail above everyone else’s success.” James Cameron

Most of the great names in history have one thing in common: they persevered through great failures to accomplish great success. Remember, it is not their failures, no matter how numerous, that we remember. It is their ultimate success that leaves their mark on the world.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison