How Do You Handle Failure?

This post was guest blogged by Alan Johnson from The Rating Blog, where you can win prizes by helping those in need.

Have you just launched that project of yours which looked great on paper? Were your expectations high, only to suffer a bitter defeat? Well, you’ve just learned something what millions of other online entrepreneurs before you have: failure is always a possibility, no matter how good things look on paper.

Failure Is An Important Part of Success

I’ve referred to the fact that there is nothing wrong with failure and that it shouldn’t be treated as a disappointment in my “Do You Act Like A Winner?” guest post, but let’s see exactly how one should react to it.

First of all, as previously stated, don’t let it get to you. No, you are not the first person to have made a mistake and you will definitely not be the last. There isn’t a single billionaire out there who hasn’t failed, and I’m not referring to minor problems here, I’m referring to huge defeats, which would have made most people in their position give up. But they didn’t, and that’s the main factor behind their success. Never make the mistake of letting failure get the best of you.

Does that mean that you should forget about your experience altogether? Of course not, and, while you should never let yourself get discouraged by failure, you will only end up repeating the same mistakes over and over again if you forget about your experience. Failure is an important part of success because of the lessons it has the habits of teaching you, lessons which will help you become a better entrepreneur.

What did I do wrong? Why did I make such a decision? If I were to be facing the same scenario again, what would I do differently? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself after each failure, and answering them will help you learn valuable lessons and not repeat your mistakes in the future.

Never Repeat The Same Mistake, There Are Plenty of New Ones to Make

There isn’t a person out there who is above failure, there is nothing wrong with it, but repeating the same mistakes over and over again is just plain foolish on your part. What good will a certain experience do if you don’t have anything to learn from it?

Alright then, so you didn’t get discouraged, you’ve asked yourself a few important questions which have helped you learn a thing or two, now what? Now it’s time to get back on the saddle, it’s time to put your experience to good use. Rest assured, the lesson you’ve learned will prove to be of great help down the road.

Will you be facing reality checks in the future? Will you fail miserably at a certain point? Of course since, no matter how knowledgeable you are, failure is always a possibility. You will always make mistakes and that is perfectly fine and understandable. Making the same mistake twice however isn’t.

The way you handle failure is one of the key aspects which will make or break you as an online entrepreneur. Don’t let yourself get discouraged, analyze everything you did wrong, learn from your mistakes, never repeat them and you are on the right track. Handle failure the wrong way and you will become yet another statistic, yet another never-was. Are you about to let something like that happen? I didn’t think so.

54 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Failure?”

  1. Every mistake and failure just brings you one step closer to success. Learn from your mistakes and never give up. 99% of new bloggers give up because they do not see results fast enough, and they get disappointed. Everything that is worthwhile in life takes hard work and failure is the learning curve that EVERYONE, has to experience! Blogging is a constant, constant hustle! Just look at Mark Cuban’s blog and his series on Success and Motivation!

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Indeed, most online entrepreneurs end up giving up as a result of not seeing worthwhile results overnight. Such an attitude represents a shaky foundation for any project to begin with and in the end, it will get you nowhere.

      Alan Johnson

      1. I never give up, I never surrender, so if at all possible I continue on and adapt until I succeed. If however the failure is final, like coming in second in a race, I accept it graciously and fully prepare myself to recognize that situation the next time it presents itself so that I AM NOT second again.

        Knowledge + Imagination + Observation + Motivation and determination = success.

    2. I agree. I also believe that it’s essential to listen to the criticism of others. Reading and replying to the e-mails and comments of your visitors not only shows that you value their opinion, but it also shows that you are open to new ideas.
      “If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.” -Malcolm X

    3. Things often take sacrifice too produce the goods. Cutting back on other activities etc.

  2. Guillermo says:

    Interesting question…. As soon as I fail you’ll be the forst to know.


    1. alan says:

      I agree 😛

    2. Haha. You can’t say you’ve never failed at ANYTHING before.

      1. Alan Johnson says:

        There isn’t a person out there who is above failure. Of course, there more than a few folks who may think that they are and “denial” is the best word to describe their attitude 🙂

        Alan Johnson

  3. Aaron says:

    Great post on a topic that i feel very strongly about. Failure is going to happen, so don;t let people get in the way of acheiving your dreams just because you’ve failed once or twice.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      In the end, yes, the main difference between people who succeed and people who don’t comes from their attitude towards failure, from how they react after things go wrong, from their ability to keep giving it 110%.

      Alan Johnson

  4. Brady Ware says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Avoid my biggest mistake by not keeping all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure to diversify yourself. John says it best here.

    1. Yeah, a lot of people make that mistake too.

    2. Alan Johnson says:

      I agree, thinking that you can depend on one project or one monetization method and that failure is not an option is a totally wrong attitude to begin with.

      Alan Johnson

  5. John Forman says:

    I come at things from the trading/investing arena where I work with a lot of folks new to the markets. Learning how to handle the inevitable losses is a huge thing.

    Imagine getting reved up by a stock and all excited about the big money you’ll make in the trade only to have it go lower and you’ll see the direct comparission to what was posted here. Now consider that you can trade much more frequently (if you wish) than you are likely to develop business ventures and such and you’ll get an idea of just how important getting past disappointment is.

    The thing I always try to get traders to realize is that losses are going to happen, sometimes frequently, but if you’re doing things right the rewards will offset the losses. The exact same thing applies to business. I’m not saying it’s easy, but focusing on the long-term helps a lot.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      As with trading/investing, it’s a matter of risk vs. reward. Not understanding that a certain decision of yours could lead to losses as well and not assuming responsibility for your actions (or even worse, letting fear of failure keep you from taking calculated risks) is never the way to go.

      Alan Johnson

  6. Its really great post thanks for sharing.

  7. alan says:

    sounds great.

  8. CatherineL says:

    Hi there Alan. Well said. Failure helps you to become far more successful, so long as you learn from it. In fact, it really shouldn’t be called failure.

    I blog quite a bit about mistakes I’ve made and sometimes I receive criticism for it – usually from some fake entrepreneur. And I usually feel sorry for them, because I know that nobody who has achieved a reasonable amount of success did it without making a heap of mistakes first.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Admitting your mistakes and analyzing them in order to make sure that you have had something to learn is always a productive attitude and it will, without a doubt, pay off in the long run.

      Alan Johnson

  9. Like the old saying…

    Try, Try Again!

    Or how about mine…

    If you keep trying then you cant help but get better!

  10. Jonathan says:

    Failure doesn’t bother me. It’s making the same mistake over and over again that gets discouraging.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      There is, of course, nothing wrong with failing, but if you repeat the same mistake twice, it means that you haven’t quite learned your lesson and that another reality check was in order.

      Alan Johnson

  11. I take things I failed at and turn them into experiences- and write and share with my readers. That way maybe they won’t make the mistakes!

    1. Learn from others mistakes. Better than making them yourself. But will you then learn how to avoid it as well as you might if you made the mistake?

  12. Tom Beaton says:

    It is tough to get yourself going again but that is what it is all about. The lack patience often leads people to believe they have failed long before they have resulting in actual failure. So its important to really look at the bigger picture.

  13. Alan Johnson says:

    Glad you’ve found the article useful, it’s always great to see others appreciating your work and, also, be sure to check out my contest (with some more than tempting prizes you can take off my hands) if you haven’t by now (there is still plenty of time for new entries) 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Alan Johnson

  14. kpriss says:

    there’s a world of talking around failure management. Not much you can do about it in a single posting on a web blog, but it was nice trying, more than nothing, anyway…

    he? how’s that failure handling goin? need an extra hand?

  15. This reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King.

    This crazy monkey, Raffiki, is talking to Simba, who feels lost and alone. Raffiki whacks Simba on the head with a stick, and Simba wants to know why.

    But Raffiki wants to know what Simba will do, now that he’s been whacked:

    “You can live with it,” he says, “or you can learn from it.” And he takes another swipe at Simba, who ducks.

    “AHA! You see?!”

  16. Mike Huang says:

    Interesting post. I’ll keep this in mind 🙂


  17. spidro says:

    Failure Is An Important Part of Success
    i agree with that , i always try even i failed

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      More than a few folks tend to make the mistake of giving up as soon as the road gets bumpy and it’s easy to understand that such an attitude will get them nowhere 🙂

      Alan Johnson

  18. RacerX says:

    Nice post Alan!
    Failure is truly the bestlearning experience out there. You are also better being out there swinging then trying to develop a better plan.

    You have to be flexible enough to know when to be flexible!

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      More than a few people tend to become blinded by success so that yes, a little reality check every now and then never hurts, since let’s face it: no matter how knowledgeable you think you are, the learning process is never really over.

      Alan Johnson

  19. FrankJ says:


    I think most of us know how to deal with failure. Case and point it’s easier to talk about it when you’re on top. Adjust, adapt, overcome, need anything else?

    Peace all!

  20. Katie says:

    Great Article. I totally agree. Don’t give up when you make a mistake. Just learn from it. Find out what caused the mistake and try not to do the same thing again. One thing that can help is writing things down on paper. Write a list of things not to do, to remind yourself if you forget. And write a list of things to do, to help you out! 😉

    ~Katie 😀

    Ps. One great thing to do if you seem to fail allot or even a little is writing a dreams and goals Journal. Keeping it somewhere where you will see it allot and looking at it everyday. Write all your dreams down and your goals to get those dreams. Write near each goal how long it will take to reach each dream of yours. Just write down the date you want to accomplish the goal to get the dream and budget your time wisely and money to get each dream you want to get! Hope this helps 🙂

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      I couldn’t agree more: it’s always important that you see the big picture and that you understand that losing a battle here and there may just teach you some valuable lessons which will help you win the war.

      Alan Johnson

  21. Pingback:
    1. Just start writing once you get into it things flow. Whenever I am struggling with writing a post I just pick an idea start writing and things flow.

  22. Fahmishah says:

    nice article alan.
    do not give up when you make mistake.
    learn from the mistake

  23. Very nice post have to agree with it.

  24. B Carter says:

    I love this post. People today have a “I want it now” attitude and if they don’t see results overnight, then they give up. True entrepreneurs never give up.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Expecting results overnight is indeed the biggest mistake you could make as an entrepreneur and it’s the main reason why some people with great potential end up never taking things to the next level.

      Alan Johnson

  25. You’ve done it again Alan. I really dig your posts. And would like to mention that it’s a really good sequel to your earlier post. I believe the JohnChow traffic is treating you well, ha? 🙂

    “Never Repeat The Same Mistake, There Are Plenty of New Ones to Make” – great point. The key to being a winner is learning from your own mistakes. We all make mistakes. If winners didn’t make mistakes, there would be no winners at all. Then again, in life, how good you really are can not be judged by how many mistakes you makes. Because as I said, we all do. It can only be judged by how good you handle those problems. From your earlier post, “Winners don’t quit and quitter don’t win”.

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Glad you’ve found my articles useful and yes, my guest posts are indeed win-win situation for all parties involved, including me 🙂

      Alan Johnson

  26. Patrick says:

    Good article. I just started a forum at to discuss this very matter. Would love to have some you John Chow readers submit a short story of how you handle failure.

    1. And that way we can also learn of other peoples failures and try to avoid them ourselves.

  27. Feed Flare says:

    Hey John, I posted this quote on my Pownce account yesterday and I got some very interesting responses.
    Here is it;
    What you are thinking and feeling today……….Is your future!
    What do you think about it.

  28. Miley Cyrus says:

    “Try and fail, but keep trying” 🙂

  29. cherie says:

    A very good article to ponder upon. i also work from failure till success. i agree failure is the mother / foundation of success!!

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