15 Difficult Lessons You’ll Learn Before You Become Successful

5 minute read

By Jordana Weiss

For every successful person, there are a whole host of others lurking in the shadows who just never hit on the right formula for success. Fortunately, with a quick search online, you can browse a variety of invaluable advice and age old wisdom.

Many people that we idolize as industry leaders, such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, had countless failures before achieving their goals. Here are a few insights to keep in mind while traversing the path to success.

You’ll have many ideas, but the final product you’re selling is yourself

Although any good business person knows that having a good product is important, the most critical part of the equation is you! If you have a quick mind and good business savvy, you can come up with a new idea if your first one fails.

Nothing will save you if you can’t bounce back from failure, learn from it, and move on. There’s a reason why the judges on a show like Dragon’s Den evaluate the person behind the product as well as the product itself because they’ll only put their money behind someone whose judgement they trust.

Failure redefines your priorities

The next time you take a leap and fail, take a few moments to do some critical self-examination, and see if your priorities have changed. Maybe running a business or taking on that new endeavor took you away from your family and friends a bit too much for your comfort, or maybe you realize that you’ve never been happier. Instead of worrying about why your venture failed, take those feelings you’ve uncovered and find another project that makes you feel the same way.

Compassion is hard until you’ve been there yourself

Negative stuff happens to all of us in life. However, it seems like some people live charmed lives and see failure and negativity much less often than the average person.

These people may be kind, polite, and loving, but they often find it harder to be compassionate — a quality that is forged through hardship. Really being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when they’re going through a rough patch is a truly valuable skill.

Money may seem less important

People who take a big leap and fail often find themselves ironically less worried about money than they were before. If you lose a large sum of money, or if your fortunes change quickly, you may find that your priorities shift and you realize that you don’t need money as much as you thought you did. Of course, having food and a roof over your head is critical, but failure might just make you realize that you don’t need as many things to be happy.

It’s okay to adjust your plans

There are some people who go through life with a plan, which tends to define their whole life. They don’t deal well with change, and they react with extreme stress and anxiety to anything that causes them to re-evaluate their plans.

It’s important to realize that it’s okay to change your plans. After all, it’s impossible to predict the future. Learning how to adapt to new information is key to your future success.

Discover who you truly value in life

Success tends to attract people. It’s the same reason we spend so much of our day reading celebrity gossip. We want to be close to people who are successful, and generally tend to stay away from people who we perceive to be “failures.”

When we fail in our endeavours, it can really show us who our true friends are. True friends stick around and help you pick up the pieces. They don’t run away at the first sign of a problem.

Hang on to what unites us all

Many people who are in the midst of turmoil find themselves reaching out to grasp at what brings us together. This could mean going to church, going out to a bar, or clubbing with your friends.

Learning how to connect with people in a new way is helpful to some people when they’re going through a hard time. Sometimes, failure can make us question who we truly are. Looking outside of yourself instead of just collapsing can help us get through it.

It can be helpful to give rather than receive for a while

Many people who are undergoing a trauma or struggle in their own lives find that often they see improvement in themselves if they can reach out and help others.

It takes you out of your busy mind for a few hours, and the endorphin high that you get from making a difference in the lives of others can help snap you out of your funk. The next time one of your ventures fails, take time to search around your community for a way to help others. You’ll learn to appreciate your skills in a new way.

Time management skills are key

In order to be successful in life, it’s key to know how to manage your time. Sometimes, when we find ourselves in the middle of failure, it can help to look back at how you managed your time, and see if you can improve in any way.

Maybe you didn’t put enough time in, or maybe you micromanaged so aggressively that you simply smothered your project. Both are normal, and totally human.

Learn to evaluate yourself

Learning how to see yourself objectively can be tough. It’s one thing to take criticism from someone else, but taking it from yourself can be difficult.

To be successful in the future, you must learn how to evaluate your own performance, and give yourself some constructive criticism. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you should be fine with being both the boss and the employee at the same time.

Forgive and forget

Failure can be incredibly demoralizing. You may find that instead of pushing your next idea forward, you become obsessed with beating yourself up. Don’t let yourself be a punching bag, even if it’s you throwing the punches.

Learn to forgive yourself for any lapses in judgement that led to your failure, and move forward. That way, you’ll have more energy for more positive things.

Worrying will only make you anxious

There’s no sense in worrying about things that you can’t control. The best thing to do in situations where you find yourself getting anxious is to take a few moments to center yourself through deep breathing.

Then, if you feel up to it, lay out some of the ways to solve your problem. Chances are, if you’ve thought about it this much already, your solutions will be great.

You have to fail before you succeed

Many people think that if you fail early, it means that you just aren’t cut out for that job. Fortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Failing gives you experiences that you can learn and build from. The key is to fail quickly — don’t drag it out by trying to fix an unfixable problem.

Don’t be afraid to give it your all

A lot of times people take the easy way out. Either they’re too lazy to put in more effort, or they’re afraid that if they give it all they’ve got and fail that it will be too much of an ego-blow to continue. Don’t get stuck in this defeatist mindset.

Life’s too short

It’s clichéd, but it’s true. Life is too short to not get out there and do what you want. If you have an idea but no idea how to accomplish it, do as much research as you possibly can, then dive in headfirst. The only way you can improve is to keep trying out different solutions, and learn to trust in your own intuition.

Jordana Weiss