What Successful People Know About Failure

That Unsuccessful People Don't

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Successful people can take something that looks like a failure and turn it into a stepping stone, or even a success. Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer uses the example of a company that invested millions of dollars to invest in a glue which turned out to be non-adhesive. At first, Langer pointed out, the development was thought to have turned out to be a disaster. What use could there possibly be for a non-adhesive glue? In fact, it was out of this failure that the post-it notes were developed, Langer continued.

Ellen Langer is an advocate for keeping the mind young, fresh and agile through the practice of “noticing new things,” or, “mindfulness.” Langer doesn’t use mindfulness in spiritual terms, but to describe a state of mind that is as free of pre-conceptions as possible. Look at your failures and see if you can’t turn them into opportunities.

Samar Habib is a writer, researcher and scholar who lives in California. When she’s not busy figuring out how things work and how they could be working better, you’ll find her sharing what she’s learned. A prolific researcher and writer, she also teaches the online course Quantum Mind: Stop Suffering and Take Back Your Life. You can get in touch with her on drsamarhabib [at] email [dot] com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

andresr/ Getty Images

8 Signs You’re Not Ready to Start Your Own Business

by Laura McCamy

Why Mindfulness Is the Next Leadership Frontier

by Due Quach

The Myth of Aging

by Piyush Kamal

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.