Dale Carnegie: Embrace Your Failures

In the last lesson, we learned the value of taking action, regardless of everything else that might be going on. Picasso largely became wealthy and famous because he never stopped painting, even toward the end of his life.

If you’re continuously taking action, you’re bound to take a few missteps from time to time. Dale Carnegie used his own failures to his advantage. He learned from each failure and found a more effective approach.

Dale Carnegie said:

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” ~Dale Carnegie

The master of public speaking and communication and the author of, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie is another example of someone who experienced great success in his work.

Carnegie stressed that you must experience discouragement and failure in your life in order to find success. He believed that through examining your experiences of failures, you can gain the knowledge that will propel you to success.

How to Apply Dale Carnegie’s Tip to Your Life


Instead of fearing failures and trying to avoid thinking about how you failed at something, look closely at your mistakes. You’ll surely learn how to avoid those mistakes in the future. Even your feelings of discouragement will eventually lead you down the path of success as you seek more positive outcomes.

Try this process to help you use your failures as stepping stones to success:

  1. Ask yourself why something didn’t work. If you can figure out a probable reason, you can avoid the same process as you try new ideas that might work. Or, if you’re developing a skill for your goal, you may decide that you just need more practice to fine-tune your skill.
  2. Come up with a new strategy. Brainstorm ideas for new ways to approach your current challenge or get back on track toward your goal.
  3. Try out your new idea right away. “Jumping back on the horse” will keep you moving toward your goal and allow you to avoid wasting time bemoaning your setback. If you let too much time pass before you continue on, your motivation could wane as you wallow in your misery.
  4. Repeat this process if your new idea doesn’t work. There’s no shame in trying an idea that doesn’t achieve the goal. If your idea doesn’t work, learn from it and move on.

Consider your failures as an important education in what it takes to achieve. Whether you learn to stop doing something or that perhaps you should have done something differently, examine your failures and feelings of discouragement. Use them productively to then build your fact base for success.

Put your failure to good use; learn from it so you can continue on your path to excellence.

Above all, remember that the only way you can really fail is to give up. As long as you’re still working toward your goal, you haven’t failed in your quest. Failures along the way just let you know how not to do something. Your next idea may be just the one that brings you success!

Few things just fall into your lap, but enough fall close by for you to be successful. Seizing the opportunities you’ve been given is the topic of the next lesson.

Here’s what you need to do today:

  • Take a look at your three biggest failures in pursuing your goals.
  • Ask yourself why they happened.
  • Determine what likely would have been a more effective approach.
  • Is it desirable or possible for you to resume pursuing these goals with a new approach?