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How to Respond to Failure When Giving Up Is a Bad Idea

never give up

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Failure is inevitable, we all know that.

Mistakes are a completely normal and natural part of learning and getting better.

However, even though we know failure is a part of life, we don’t want to fail. We don’t like it and we give it a negative connotation.

How do you respond to failure? What feelings and actions comes to mind for you?

Anger, disappointment, depression?

For many people failure equals giving up and reaching the end of the road.

They make the assumption that failure means they “can’t” do it.

But think about it, why do people fail?

Do they really fail because they aren’t capable of succeeding?

No! Most failure is a normal part of working toward success.

But since people perceive failure so negatively, they give up before they have a chance to succeed.

They have a fixed mindset that they are supposed to be an great immediately!

But we can all get better and learn from mistakes. Giving up is only one option!

To shift your view of why people fail here are three main reasons why failure happens:

  • Lack of skill
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of resources

Fortunately there are solutions for each of these.

Once you identify the reason that you failed consider these solutions before giving up.

Lack of skill

Okay so you’re not great at something, or you don’t totally know what you’re doing. This isn’t the end of the world. We all can learn and improve our skills.

Solution = Practice, practice, practice. Build your skill set. No professional athlete or musician or entrepreneur got to the level they’re at without tons of practice. Skills can be built and need to be refined. If you don’t have the skills you need, start learning them!

Lack of motivation

Are you putting in 100% effort? No! Well this just might be the reason you aren’t getting the outcome you desire?

Solution = Work harder and put in more effort. Many people don’t realize that their failure is due to minimal effort.

If I asked you to rate how much effort you put into to a recent failure on a scale from 1 – 10, with 10 being the most, where would you rate yourself? No great accomplish or results will come without motivation and desire.

Lack of resources

Not everyone has the same opportunities offered to them, but this doesn’t mean we can’t create opportunities for ourselves. Just because you don’t have the resources you need right now, doesn’t mean you can’t obtain them.

Solution = Don’t let your circumstances hold you back. You can obtain whatever you need. Set clear goals related to the outcome you want. Find people who can help you. Think creatively about how to get what you need.

All three of these ideas go hand in hand. It comes to down to having the proper mindset and skillset, and using these both in tandem.

Build a positive attitude and stay focused on the results you want. Keep honing and developing your skills and realize that just because you may have failed doesn’t mean you have to give-up!

Next time you fail be willing to ask yourself why you failed and what you can do to avoid it in the future.

You don’t have to keep trying, but if you do, you might find that you’re much more capable that you realize.

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

How to Respond to Failure When Giving Up Is a Bad Idea

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2014). How to Respond to Failure When Giving Up Is a Bad Idea. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Sep 2014
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