How to cope with failure. A picture of a depressed man sitting in a old building, feeling sad.We are all bound to fail at some points in our lives. No one, I repeat, no one ever lived without failing. Failure is inevitable. To live is to strive and fail until you achieve success.

If you aren’t failing from time to time, that means you are not seeking to become a better person and you’re not living up to your full potential.

We are enjoying the modern world today as a result of the failures of some people who didn’t give up and eventually achieve success.

Just Imagine your life today, without electricity, the internet, smartphones, TV. It’s almost unimaginable, right? That’s because some people failed and didn’t let their failure hold them back.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill


5 Famous People Who Failed Before Succeeding
1. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison is recognized as the greatest American inventor. He failed several times. When he was a kid, his teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from his first two jobs because he wasn’t productive enough. He failed over 10 000 times to invent a commercially viable electric light bulb. When asked if he felt like a failure after going through 10 000 failed attempts, he said: “I have not failed, I have just found 10 000 that won’t work.”

His inventions include the incandescent light bulb, phonograph, film, kinetoscope, the movie camera just to mention but a few.

2. J.K Rowling

J.K Rowling is considered to be the most successful female author in the UK. But, she didn’t start out this way. She failed her way to the top.

Her first idea of Harry Porter was in 1990 and she began writing. But, unfortunately, she lost her mom later that year.

She’d later move to Portugal where she got married, but after a year, the marriage ended in divorce. She moved back to the UK. At that time she was jobless, divorced and with a dependent child.

After writing Harry Porter, the book was rejected by all the 12 major publishers. It was later accepted by a small publishing house with only a few copies published.

Today the book has won several awards and has sold more than 400 million copies.

3. Henry Ford

 Henry Ford was a famous entrepreneur who founded the Ford Motor Company. He revolutionized the transportation and automobile industry.

Achieving this wasn’t an easy task. He failed twice in the automobile industry before succeeding. His first company the Detroit Automobile Company went bankrupt and was eventually dissolved.

His Second Company, the Henry Ford Company, also failed, but he didn’t give up. However, it was his third attempt the Ford Motor Company that eventually succeeded.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

 4. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He is known for his numerous political loses before becoming the president.

He was born into poverty and had to suffer numerous failures.

In 1818, he lost his mother, failed in business in 1831, ran for state legislature and lost in 1832. He also lost his job that same year. In 1833, he tried the second time in business and failed again. A year later, he ran for state legislature again and won. In 1835, He was engaged but lost his wife-to-be. He had a total nervous breakdown in 1836 and was bed-ridden for six months.

In 1838 He sought to become the speaker of the state legislature but was defeated. In 1840 he sought to become elector but lost. He ran for Congress but lost in 1843. He won in 1846 but wasn’t renominated in 1848. In 1854 he ran for Senate of the United States but lost. 2 years later, he sought the Vice -Presidential nomination of his party but lost. In 1858 he ran for Senate again but lost. Eventually, in 1960, he won the presidential election and was elected president of the United States.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” – Abraham Lincoln

5. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an American media executiveactresstalk show hosttelevision producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history.

Born into poverty to a teenage mother, she suffered child abuse at age 9, ran away from home at age 13 and became pregnant at 14 but lost her son shortly after birth.

She moved in with her Dad at the age of 14, who made sure she focused on school and later study at the university on full scholarship, majoring in communications.

She suffered a setback in television, she was called “unfit for television”  before eventually making it big.

Oprah didn’t let her failures stop her and went ahead to become one of the richest self-made women in the world.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness – Oprah Winfrey


The Loser effect

Winners win and losers lose. This is true for winning, if you have a habit of winning, then you are more likely to win at a particular time and same is true for losing. This law holds true most of the time, what happens is that people who lose from time to time have lost enthusiasm, they have given up but just keep trying. They are just applying the law of probability; roll a dice many times and your number will eventually come up.

You don’t want to have this mindset. Don’t let failure to be a habit.

The difference between someone who keeps failing and someone who fails at an aspect of life but eventually succeed is that even though the latter is failing at a particular aspect, he’s winning at other aspects of life. The former on the other hand rarely wins, he is so used to failure and doesn’t expect success.

If you are in the former category and you keep failing in all aspects, that’s tougher to deal with than someone who’s just failing on an aspect and expects success eventually. You need a new mindset first, whereas if you’re in the latter category, you just need to persevere more and eventually you will succeed.

Depression, stress which can lead to other lows

Failure affects you psychologically and worse is even seeing others succeed. This is where negative emotions such as envy and jealousy come from. And there’s a reason some people are programmed to feel better when they see others fail.

If you don’t know how to cope with failure, have a winning mentality and eventually succeed, sooner or later you will fall into depressionbe stressed out and give up. Others who didn’t give up will eventually succeed and this may even worsen your situation. On the long run, stress and depression will affect your health.

and you may fall ill or even start to use an addictive substance just to escape reality. So learning how to cope with failure isn’t just about succeeding but being a happier, healthier person and living your best life.

Low self-esteem

Failure is synonymous with low self-esteem and winning with high self-esteem.

This is bad as confidence is a key trait to winning. So people with low self-esteem fail even at trivial things and other aspects of life.

Most times we often think winners are proud, confident and losers are humble. These are stereotypes which most times are true. What’s the pride in losing? On the other hand, there is a lot of pride in winning. What you want is to have the winning spirit and still have your humility. That’s like icing on the cake.


 1. Surround yourself with winners

You are the average of the people you surround yourself with. It might be difficult to have winners has friends at first because winners also want winners as friends, not losers. So you have to start winning first and you will meet other winners who would want to be your friend.

If not, go it alone.

Believe me…
“It’s better to be alone than in bad company” – George Washington
Sometimes the best way to confront your fears is to face them alone.

 I remember I used to suck with people. I was socially awkward. The reason I now understand was I spent a lot of time with people who had low self-esteem as well and I got it from them. Worse still were the people around me who just expected me to fail, even though I was smart.
It took me years to finally figure this out. I actively worked on being a better person. I would talk to strangers, go to unusual environments alone. Do things alone. I failed and failed again until I started succeeding. And even now when I fail, I know how to cope with it.

2. Have a winning mentality

A winning mentality is the belief that you can win too. If others are doing it then you can do it too. You just need to spend more time on it or learn that skill to a certain degree and you will eventually see success. The winning mentality is so crucial that it is the primary thing you need first if you want to succeed. Why is it so important? Well, even in a situation where you have a skill or you can do something, with doubts in your mind and lack of belief, you could still fail.

If you’re used to failing and self-doubt, I suggest that every time you wake up in the morning, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself “I can do this, if others are winning, I can win too, I’m a winner”.

Self-affirmation is key to having a strong winning mentality.

3. Understand that it’s normal

Your failure is not a reflection of who you are. It’s just a result of an action. Don’t tag yourself a failure or let others tag you a failure. Tags are extremely dangerous. You live your tag. Once you are labelled a failure, you’re almost done. Avoid people who will make you feel like a failure. Avoid people who won’t be happy to see you succeed.

Failure is normal, successful people fail, maybe they don’t say it often but they do fail too.

4. Keep Going

Don’t ever give up on something you think is achievable just because you fail. Those great people didn’t give up and you shouldn’t too. Giving up is a sign of defeat. And the scariest part is if you’re used to giving up, it becomes a habit.

Find the energy within you, find your “why” Why have you decided to embark on this journey? The more difficult the battle is, the sweeter the victory.

5. Do a careful post mortem of the situation

What went wrong? what could you have done better? Ask yourself these questions first and then what can you change? Use these to set out a plan towards victory. This is your analysis of the situation that resulted in failure.
Winners do this when they fail. Since they are used to winning, failure is always devastating. They make the required changes and before you know it, they start winning again.

6. Actively work on being better 

What can you improve on; your posture — start doing fitness, the way you talk — Improve your voice, the way you walk — copy role models and their way of walking, the way you dress — try dressing better, your looks — do makeup, lose weight, a skill — learn it, finances — learn a skill, get a job, start a business, talk to lots of people about your financial situation. So you see, there are so many aspects you can improve on.

It isn’t that easy and there are going to be challenges and failure on the part but I can guarantee you will see a positive improvement.
There is no excuse to not living up to your full potential.
All your fears have already been conquered someone somewhere. There is nothing new under the sun.
If you’re completely lost and don’t know where to start, just find a role model and copy the way they act and how they will think in a situation, This should make you better.

7. Treat success and winning more like a skill

If you aren’t winning now, then this is a skill you want to develop. And developing a skill takes time. Getting to mastery takes even more time.

You need to spend a lot of time on an aspect to eventually get to succeed at it.
The winner effect is so crucial. You need to get to the point where you’re winning on autopilot. To summarize it, winners have it easier winning again and losers have it easier losing again. This has to deal with various aspects of life. It is easily seen in sport. We automatically expect the best teams to win a game and the worst teams to lose a game irrespective of the players playing for the teams. While on average the best teams have better players, the mindset still plays a role here.



I can simply tell you “Don’t Give Up” but I’d be lying to you. That’s an empty phrase without substance.
The truth is we have all given up before on some aspects in our lives.
You should give up on people and bad habits that will draw you back.
You should give up on ventures that don’t seem productive and are deemed a failure.
Well, instead of not giving up, find the energy to keep going. Find a “Why” that will keep you motivated no matter the setbacks and failure. Simply telling yourself “I won’t give up” won’t work. You have to work to achieve this or else you will burn yourself out and eventually give up.

If your goal is not going as planned, change direction instead of the goal.
There’s is a famous saying: “There are several ways to skin a cat” meaning there are several ways to achieve the desired result.

To finish this article “DON’T GIVE UP”. I hope you now know how to cope with failure and not give up.

Dr. Klas

Dr. Klas aka Dr. Emmanuel Adeniran is a medical doctor, a health educator, and a fitness expert who has been into fitness for more than five years. He is willing to share his knowledge and experience with you.

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