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A few weeks back, a cousin of mine made her first big step as a professional jewelry maker. She signed up as a vendor at a state fair to sell her hand-crafted pieces, but ended up taking a loss. None of her pieces sold, so naturally, she felt discouraged. Her experience took me back to an article I’d read by blogger King Marquise called “Fail Your Way to the Top.” The post detailed his failed attempts at passing his state’s real estate exam, and how he used his flops as fuel to finally pass the test and attain his license.

This is the exact same advice I gave to my cousin. I told her to use the experience as a learning tool. Analyze and correct what she did wrong, perfect and capitalize on everything she did right, take all the helpful tips that were given to her that day, and invest it all into the next event she works and her business as a whole. With all the knowledge she’s acquired from that one incident, there’s no doubt that in all future occasions, her products will be flying off the table!

But my cousin’s situation is just one instance. People everywhere are striving for victory, trying to carve out their own lane on this busy highway we call life. We might wish things worked differently, but reaching goals and achieving triumph doesn’t always come easy. In order to be successful, you have to take risks. You will lose money, you will taste defeat, you will hear “no,” face rejection, and sometimes, things get so hard that quitting will look like the best option. Encounters like this may feel like negatives, but if you learn to accept them as part of your success journey, you’ll no longer allow them to cripple your ambition. Ask any established person how they made it to where they are and I’m sure they’ll tell you it didn’t happen overnight. Success takes time.
Not too long ago, I ran across the perfect quote that related to this topic: “Stars can’t shine without darkness.” All truth. You need the setbacks to make you smarter. How else will you learn? The disappointments help develop resilience, but only if you allow it to. Holding on to that dreadful mentality that things should happen fast and easy only hurts you in the long run. With this state of mind, you are oblivious to the precious pearls clenched between that hard exterior, and you’re less likely to realize what you’re doing (or did) wrong, thwarting you from mending your mistakes.

Before I started writing for MN, I can’t count how many times I’d tried contacting editors who orchestrate the site, waiting weeks for responses only to be met with non-replys. But one day I got through, projected some of my best pitches, got an “OK” for one, and well…you’re reading this post, right? So whether or not you’re struggling in school, going through a creative slump at work, or losing money in your business, keep a level head and utilize every experience to aid you in the next step. Stop complaining, dump the excuses, pick up your pride, and let the down moments drive you all the way to the top.

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