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How to Deal with Failure

by philhampton on 3 May 2012

NY Giants Quarterback Eli Manning had to deal with failure in 2010 when this terrible sacking ended his involvement in this game against the Jets. He's recently had the best season of his career.

I was listening to an interview with marketer-extraordinaire Dan Kennedy this week, when he revealed the time he asked a star quarterback the secret to his success.

The answer came back: ‘A very short memory’.

When a quarterback throws a ball that misses its intended receiver, or it’s fumbled, or even worse, he gets sacked, that quarterback has 30 seconds until the next play.  His pride may have taken a beating, and he may have to throw to the same guy who fumbled the ball last time, but after 30 seconds, he needs to focus on getting the ball successfully up the field – nothing more.

Now, after the game, that quarterback may go home and process what exactly happened on the field, but if he brings any negativity with him onto the field at the next game, his team’s chances of winning are reduced.

Now, one of Dan’s business students gives himself a ‘one hour rule’.  If he screws up, he takes a maximum of 60 minutes to beat himself up about it, or complain to one of his friends, but on the 61st minute, he’s forgotten about it and then goes about running his business.

Now, not everyone can be as disciplined as this, and it can take some training to get into this mental state, but here are my key tips for dealing with failure that you might find easier to adopt:

  1. Accept that everyone faces failure in their lives – Yes, even George Clooney has failed.  You are far from alone.
  2. Welcome failure as a learning opportunity – Failure offers us the greatest chance to improve ourselves as it’s ‘learning in the muscle’ instead of from a book.  If you’ve royally screwed up, chances are you won’t repeat what you did wrong, and that’s a good thing.
  3. Treat the failure as feedback - Write down the key things that you did wrong in that situation. What are you going to do next time to improve the outcome?
  4. Detach your negative emotions from the event – Part of learning to accept and deal with failure is to strip away any negative feelings from the memory.  Viewing the event objectively, rather than emotionally, will help prevent any bad feelings from sapping your energy if you remember the event in future.
  5. Move on – If you still find yourself dwelling on the event, hours, days, even months later, ask yourself ‘How is this helping me move forward towards my ultimate goals/aims?’  If it’s not, then stop beating yourself up and do something more constructive!

If you can learn to deal with failure in the right way, it can actually help you succeed in life quicker than if the disastrous event never happened in the first place.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric lightbulb – “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, please share it by using one of the buttons below, or leave a comment.

To your continued success,


Phil Hampton

The Comic Academy

Phil Hampton founded The Comic Academy to help and inpire comic creators and publishers to market their work effectively. Download your FREE exclusive report ‘The 7 Steps to Comic Creator Success’ at

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily Ragozzino May 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I must admit Phil, I love reading your articles and I’m glad you’re back. I read a long article you wrote about motivation and how to accomplish goals and though my project was grueling I did accomplish something I was putting off for a long time. It was that article that got me to publish not just 1 but 4 books (60 pages long each) at the same time for my webcomic. I’ve even put them in stores and have an online store for them. I became very focused and I have you to thank for it. Thanks for keeping me sane with your encouraging words! If you’d like to check out these books they’re at:

Max West May 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Sadly, I’m guilty of doing this. I’ve lamented on my past mistakes – and so have others out there who think my work is no good.

Things have changed though since I’ve learned that failure is a part of the territory.
Max West´s last blog post ..Vlog 5-5-2012 and Free Comic Book Day

philhampton May 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Hi Emily,

Thanks very much for your comments – well done you! I’m extatic that one of my articles motivated you to achieve so much.

The books look great! I hope you continue to produce quality work.

All the best,


philhampton May 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hi Max,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s great to turn a corner and learn how to deal with mistakes in a positive way.

All the best,


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