Book Dr. Akhu

3 Ways to Redefine Failure

failure Mar 31, 2022

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? He obviously did not let that stop him.

3 Ways to Redefine Failure

  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination and his first cartoon production company went bankrupt.
  • Oprah, one of the richest and most successful women in the world, not only rose above the abuse she experienced as a child, she also did not let career setbacks stop her from reaching the top. Oprah was once fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit” for TV.
  • Dr. Seuss’ (Theodor Seuss Geisel) first book, And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected by 27 different publishers.

What do all these people have in common? They did not let failure stop them! We are rarely privy to all of the challenges people who are now great successes had to overcome before they got to the top. You can turn your failures into stepping stones to success by following these 3 tips:

  1. Look at all setbacks as obstacles not barriers. You can go over, around or through obstacles, but you can’t get past barriers.
  2. Look at all setbacks as an opportunity to learn and improve so you can do better next time, not as a sign that you should stop.
  3. Know that you can do anything you put your mind too. It may take longer than you would like it to or be harder than expected, but all things are possible. Find proof in two ways:
  • Examples of past personal successes - Getting my Ph.D. required me to write a book based on my unique experiment. Although I had never done such a thing before, with help and support from peers and faculty I got it done. Remembering that I wrote a 200-page document (even if no one will ever read it) reminded me that I am capable of anything when I faced challenges writing Metamorphosis: Journaling the Path from Domestic Victim to Victor.


  • Examples of those who have overcome obstacles to achieve success - This writing opened with a few examples. As I moved into expanding my psychology practice by becoming a writer I read books by well-known authors about their journeys to success. Knowing that Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before it was published reminds me that rejection is just part of the process and that tenacity is what is necessary to truly succeed.

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? He obviously did not let that stop him.


“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

~ Michael Jordan