The Art of Leveraging Failure

"I truly do believe that entrepreneurship in its essence is the art of managing failure."

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I want to make a proposition today. And that proposition is to include ‘Failure Management’ as an actual skill that people will need to possess. I predict this to happen within the next 20 years — that people will get hired based on their unique ability to adapt and change to internal or external factors that bring volatility to their professions.


I truly do believe that entrepreneurship in its essence is the art of managing failure. Yes, failure management is an art — an uncommon art. A much-needed art and in almost all cases a required art. We learn how to leverage failure, we aren’t naturally wired to leverage failure. We weren’t born with an innate desire to capitalize on our failures. The Oxford dictionary defines the word ‘leverage’ as “Use (something) to maximum advantage”.

But first of all why do we need to leverage failure? To many the answer is obvious — which is to obviously learn from your mistakes, grow and become a better person. If this is the most popular, obvious and most-desired answer then why are so many people still stuck in their failures while wallowing in their past or present situations? Why aren’t all entrepreneurs able to make that comeback from that downward curve?

The answer is rather simple. We leverage our failures not just for ourselves but for our external environment. If you sit back and take a helicopter-view of your life you will be able to see how your decisions, attitudes and character affect your immediate environment and yes your failures too.

My purpose is to give you a greater purpose to leverage your failures. To look beyond just the personal benefits of leveraging failure, to give your failures a larger purpose.

We need to feel inspired to leverage our failures. We cannot just decide to do so without the inspiration. It’s so much bigger than that. We all have limited mindsets that often times allows our failures to limit our potential so if we have to bring real change into our lives we have to feel inspired and see a higher and wider purpose in it.

Because, sometimes we just don't want to change. We don't want to see the fact that our failures are a message from life itself telling us we can be better people. We don't want to move out of our comfort zones.

We are so tempted towards our comfort-zones that we almost fail to hear the message that failure tries to convey.

Here are two major points for you to really think about as you attempt to leverage your failure:

1) The Message

 Almost all failures both business and personal have a message hidden within them. It’s kind of like a mystery that you need to search out — it could take minutes, months or sometimes even years. The sooner you find it, the better.

The fastest way to find it is to simply be relentlessly optimistic, there's no two ways around this one.

It is imperative to find out what this message is because it is this message that will help you bounce back from your failure.

To practically leverage failures requires you to develop a growth mindset, the kind of mindset that allows you to explore impossibilities. The growth mindset chooses to draw out every drop of good from an undesirable situation. It allows you to search and bounce back. No matter how great the failure you can still learn, grow and become amazing.

2) You are a Champion

Just like how a diamond needs hours and hours of polishing and refinement before it becomes beautiful and desirable in the same way there is an inner champion within each person that needs to be refined and polished. Failure sometimes exposes the rough that needs polishing, it exposes the areas that have been hidden or that we have been blinded too. In such situations our reflex action is to take flight, we don’t want to be confronted with our failure. We don’t want to see that we have actually failed at something. But as the old adage goes — “Never give up”. Some things don’t change for centuries, like this quote for example. These principles will never change.  Failure exposes weaknesses that real champions choose to leverage. Real champions and business leaders will recognize, accept, reflect on their failure and then develop a plan to take massive action.

I hope you will develop the art of leveraging failure and begin developing a kind of mindset that views all your failures as opportunities to become the best version of yourself.

Jonathan Michael

Written By

Jonathan runs a fashion school in downtown Bangalore which I founded along with my partner in October of 2014. We are trying to disrupt traditional teaching methodologies with a more practical approach to learning. He writes on Leadership and Entrepreneurship for a startup magazine based out of Vienna, Austria.