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What to do when you fail: 3 lessons to take away from every L

I hate to start off sounding ominous or overly pessimistic, but the cold hard fact of life is that failure is inevitable. It’s something we were introduced to early on and is a concept we’ve had to learn how to deal with in our own unique way.

Through living your life journey and witnessing others’, however, I’m sure you’ve found that some people seem impervious to failure and its pitfalls.

Sometimes I look at people like Donald Glover, Kevin Hart or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and wonder if they’ve ever seen an “L” in their life. It seems like whatever they try or decide to pick up, they excel at.

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It doesn’t even have to be celebrities, either. There are ordinary, everyday people whom I went to high school with who are just crushing life in a way where I’m convinced they’ve never experienced failure ever.

It wasn’t until digging deeper into each of the aforementioned individuals’ lives and even talking to those friends and classmates of mines who I had perceived as flawlessly successful that I realized they weren’t perfect at all.

In fact, it was through a multitude of losses that they learn to win.

In a 2017 interview with The Insider, Kevin Hart explained how, it was through what hadn’t worked out, that he was led to what eventually did.

“Ultimately all these things that I thought was my destiny and that I thought I was put on this earth to do, if they had of worked out, I wouldn’t be sitting in the position I’m sitting in now.”

That’s when I realized that I was failing wrong. Hell, a lot of us are. This whole time, I’m thinking those who win just simply don’t lose. But that’s not the case. Winners know how and what to do when they do lose. That, in itself, is the secret.

When we’re flying high everything seems to click: our confidence is high, we don’t second guess our steps and we know who we are. In failure, we don’t have that same energy.

Instead of letting the losses of life throw us, if we’re able to, in the midst of misfortune, look for the lesson — find out something new about ourselves — we’ll not only be more inclined to bounce back, but we’ll know how to handle every loss in our lives going forward.


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Mortality is easy to forget sometimes. We go to sleep without second-guessing whether we’ll wake up the next day, we defy the law of physics with our vehicles and we proudly parade how much we know whenever we get the chance.

We get so caught up in the idea of being responsible for ourselves that we think we’re doing it all ourselves for ourselves.

It’s not until our daily liberties are taken away, or when we experience illness or whenever we feel hindered to an extent that we remember how vulnerable we are and how fragile life itself is.

Our humanness should spend a healthy amount of time at the front of our consciousness. And sometimes it takes a loss for us to remember that.

Next time you find yourself taking an L, instead of focusing on the fairness of the situation, letting it bring you down, or hastily trying to change it, take a step back to appreciate human error — to accept your imperfections.

That way, next time things don’t go the way you suspect, it won’t be as impactful.


The second to lesson to learn in loss is humility.

I’d never want to wish ill on anyone nor am I speaking against confidence, but to go about life under the belief that you are untouchable is a dangerous game to play. Life takes balance, and if we do not practice humility life will humble us.

When we navigate life without a careful sense of humbleness, we end up getting lost in our own false sense of entitlement. Like our life is ours; as if we’re God’s gift to earth.

It’s important for the people we’re in contact with every day, the art we produce and for our own well-being, to operate in humility. It makes us easier to be around and keeps our talents pure.

The next time you find yourself in a comprising position, take the time and absorb the humility of it all — it’s refreshing! We need to be reminded that it all can be swept from under our feet.

When we approach life delicately as such, we produce better content and exude our best selves.

How to move on

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The last and most important thing to do when you fail is to move on. While there’s a sense of vulnerability to appreciate and a humility to embody, it’s imperative that we do not make our fallen place our home. We have to pick ourselves up and go.

Playing victim is easy; it’s a cop-out from confronting real truths about ourselves and it’s an excuse to lay down and do nothing.

Instead of analyzing what went wrong and where to improve, those who quit — who let their mistakes conclude who they are — are the ones who let their losses define them forever.

We move on by remembering our purpose and tapping into the bigger mission engrained deep inside. And sometimes losses are so big that our creed changes entirely. But we’ll never know unless it’s confronted.

When you take an L, take it on the chin. But in the same breath, know how to counter and come back swinging.

Losses aren’t everything, and when we learn what to do when we experience them, they become even less of a factor when in pursuit of our dreams.