12 Truths to Tell Yourself After a Mistake or Failure

12 Reminders to Keep You Motivated After a Mistake

Failure is a prerequisite for great success.  If you want to
succeed faster, double your rate of failure.

Have you ever seen a child learn to ride a bike, or a toddler learn to walk?  They stumble and fall numerous times before getting it right.  Mistakes are learning opportunities.  It takes failure after failure to create success.  Believe you can and you are halfway there.  And never regret anything, because every little detail of your life, including your mistakes, is what made you who you are today.

Here are twelve reminders to keep you motivated after a mistake or failure:

  1. It’s okay.  You will be okay. – Take all the time you need to heal emotionally.  Moving on doesn’t take a day; it takes lots of little steps to be able to break free of your broken self.  Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.  Just because today is painful doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be great.  You just got to get there.  The best things usually happen when you least expect it.  So try to smile in the mean time.  Not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don’t have.  Read Emotional Freedom.
  2. There is no success without failure. – A person who makes no mistakes is unlikely to make anything at all.  It’s better to have a life full of small failures that you learned from, rather than a lifetime filled with the regrets of never trying.
  3. Positive thinking creates positive results. – If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  Being hurt is something you can’t stop from happening, but being miserable is always your choice.  Winston Churchill reminds us, “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”  The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results.  Period.  Things always turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
  4. Success is always closer than it seems. – Your mistakes and failures should be your motivation, not your excuse.  Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones.  Mistakes teach you important lessons.  Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal.  The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  Failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up.
  5. You are not your mistakes. – Life didn’t come with instructions.  Accept that mistakes will happen.  You are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your tomorrow.  No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate.  What you do with it is up to you.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  6. Life’s best lessons are learned at unexpected times. – Many of the greatest lessons we learn in life we don’t seek on purpose.  In fact, life’s best lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  So yes, you will fail sometimes, and that’s okay.  The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant.
  7. Mistakes are rarely as bad as they seem. – Mistakes and setbacks are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.  You should never let one dark cloud cover the entire sky.  The sun is always shining on some part of your life.  Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward.
  8. Not getting what you want can be a blessing. – Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of good luck, because it forces you to reevaluate things, opening new doors to opportunities and information you would have otherwise overlooked.  Remember, some things in life fall apart so that better things can fall together.
  9. You have the capacity to create your own happiness. – You can hold onto past mistakes or you can create your own happiness going forward.  A smile is a choice, not a miracle.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy.  True happiness comes from within.  Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
  10. Mistakes are simply a form of practice. – Every great artist was once an amateur.  The sooner you get comfortable with practicing and making mistakes, the quicker you’ll learn the skills and knowledge necessary to master your art.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  So get out there and try again.  Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson.  Win – Win.  Read The Magic of Thinking Big.
  11. You are making progress. – If you brush yourself off and keep pressing forward, you will learn something and you will earn another chance to get it right.  Remember, no matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  Don’t waste your time being upset about something you can’t change.  Start over right now, implement the lessons you have learned from your mistakes, and do it better this time.
  12. Life goes on. – Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later this collection of mistakes, called experience, leads us to success.  If it’s good, it’s going to be wonderful.  If it’s bad, it’s going to be an experience.  Your mindset is at the heart of your success.  You have to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad, love what you have and be thankful for what you had.  Forgive yourself and others, but don’t forget.  Learn from your mistakes, but don’t regret.  Life is change, things go wrong, and life goes on.

Photo by: Daniel Horacio


  1. Jennifer says

    Thank you. I really needed this. Granted my mistakes may not be as terrible as some people judge them to be, but they still haunt me. I find it so hard to forgive myself at times. Your advice here helps.

  2. Thomas Cross says

    Good read! The best way to sum this up for those who have a short attention span:

    Stop Hitting Yourself :) Life’s too short to punish yourself. Life is (to me) a celebration of life and everything that brings health and happiness to everyone, especially you.

  3. Erin says

    Love it!!! Every day I get something I need from your blog or Facebook page :-) And sometimes the timing is almost unreal. Thank you!

  4. sharon says

    I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Thanks for the postive reinforcement. This is something I’m sure many of us need to read, and re-read.

  5. Julia says

    I will copy some quotes from this to post on my bedroom wall. I’ve had an extreme down spiral these past months. Not all from making mistakes. But the majority yes because I allowed myself to be used. Treated like nothing therefore I felt like it. Loneliness. My dad killed himself 12 years and 3 days ago. It still effects me in a negative way. Been feeling really down and fed up.

    My mind is still kinda fuzzy but I will really consider using your list to help me recover and be positive once again. Because you are right- many bad, hurtful things happen in life but I have had good times. I’m 20 and still can’t accept my dads demise. Because i don’t want him gone. Years after he left whenever I had a birthday or had a rogue eyelash, I’d wish on it for him to come back. I’ll never know why he did it. I don’t want it to hold me back because I do deserve to live.

    I’ve always had a feeling inside that the future needs me, I know I will make a difference in some way… just have to keep my light at the end of the tunnel bright for decades to come so I can help people feel joy, hope and grow.

    I know it won’t all be better tomorrow, but at least I’m taking initiative to lead myself in the right way (positively). I will progress and look back 20 years from now and be proud of surviving, not giving up.

    Do you have any articles on loneliness? Maybe a better outlook on it. Because I spend a lot of time alone and have few friends. I’m the kinda girl who will unconditionally help and try to be there for others and make them smile. But I have not come across many people (some I once called a friend) who would do the same for me.

    And yes, thanks for this article. You have many inspiring things on here and tonight it’s helped me to skew my downward thoughts and have hope for a better tomorrow.

  6. says

    Every morning when I open RSS app on my iphone and I see your new post, I open it first. The reason is simple, you make my day better. Thanks

  7. says

    Great list! :)

    Mistakes are a way to experience, learn and earn! Things we earned from a mistake usually were not obviously printed on a book or anywhere else. So, please be thankful for giving you an “opportunity” to make mistakes or else we will stay in the same zone and never grow.


  8. Jessica says

    Unbelievable the synchronicity of things in life! I made myself look like a fool last night in front of some folks I respect and admire. I opened up this blog post this morning and it was as though it was written just for me. Amazing… thank you!

  9. Carol says

    I want to tell you how your blog blesses me, every time I read it! It always seems that you share exactly what I need to hear at that moment. Be encouraged, and keep up the great work!

  10. Brian Wacik says

    Good ideas. Strangely, my perception is slightly different. I don’t feel that we fail at anything; rather, we have produced a result through action. If that result is different that what we anticipated or wanted – and we still want it – it’s up to us to change something to produce a different result.

    Thanks so much for what you do here.

  11. says

    It’s always been hard for me to make mistakes, which is why the part about healing emotionally stands out for me. As I started to explore my past, especially my childhood I realized there was alot of negative programming around ‘failure’. I was made to feel bad about every ‘failure’ but not really congratulated for the successes. So I started to explore that and let it go and now I feel much more prepared to make mistakes and it doesn’t effect me the same.

    It may have been temporarily uncomfortable, but exploring these patterns has had a lasting positive effect on me!


  12. Cheryl says

    This is a great reminder since we all make mistakes and usually beat ourselves up about them. Putting a positive spin on our failures allows us to see things from a different perspective. Thank you!

  13. Jerry Hislip says

    Marc and Angel, I’m 75 years young, and your post is so rich with great advice and answers to our daily problems –Just wanted to say “thank you for Being You!!”

  14. says

    Loved it!

    As Lao Tsu said “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

    You’re walking on a road, that road is called life.

    The mistakes you make on that road are just wrong turns and you can always go back to that road…When you’ll reach it, it’ll be from a different angel and you’ll have another perspective.

    I’d love it if you’d tell me what you think about my Lao Tsu “goal achieving post”.


    Thank you :)

  15. shannon says

    These posts are truly insightful and inspiring. Thank you for what you are doing and making things seem to simple.

  16. Hamzah says

    Beautiful and pragmatic. Thank you very much Marc and Angel. Your blog is very enlightening and reassuring.

  17. says

    Loved this! So very true! Jennifer – I wrote a ‘Beauty Affirmation’ today about seeing your scars as a sign of healing. Maybe you can try that. Doing this has helped me a lot.

    Beauty Affirmation: Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of survival and not pain. It doesn’t matter if your scars are visible or invisible or if some of them are fading. Don’t try to erase them. Don’t look at them as a sign of the pain and hurt you went through. See your scars as a sign of healing – a sign of YES! I MADE IT! I survived and I have my scars to prove it! I have another chance at LIFE, at LOVE, at LIVING! So today as you take a look at your scars, don’t be afraid, affirm that you will see them as a sign of healing and a sign of survival:) Keep on believing in you, Be the Best You, Stay Connected to you and Stay Beautiful: Mind, Body and Soul :) – Karlyn D Percil

  18. says

    This is so true, if we could get the rest of society to follow, we all would have a much brighter life, future and people who are much more understanding and caring. Great article. Thanks for the uplift!!

  19. says

    For me, #10: Every great artist was once an amateur sums it up perfectly.

    We tend to hold such high expectations for ourselves and demand perfection when just beginners. How can we possibly live up to them. Ironically, “failure” is often a function of not living up to the standards we set and not that we didn’t do a good job!

    @Julia What an amazing awareness you have with where you’re at with just 20 years behind you. And kudos for continuing to move toward sharing the light.

  20. Kathy says

    I’m over 60 years old and I wish we’d had facebook and Marc and Angel when I was learning these lessons the hard way!

  21. says

    Number 10 is exactly how I think. Everything in life takes practice. When we first learn to ride a bike we don’t get it right away…we fall down, skin our knees, cry a little but we get back on. If we took the word failure out of our vocabulary and replaced it with practice we’d enjoy the process a lot more. Every experience we have helps us to evolve and there is no failing at that.

  22. Guin says

    I’m a perfectionist (or was). My biggest hurdle was always picking something up and doing it, and then continuing to do it, because as Marc and Angel say, “The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.” Yikes. That got me.

    @Julia: I admire your honesty. At 20, the things you’ve survived give you an amazing amount of character, the one thing most adults lack. Just hang on. Life will catch up to you. And you will find a true friend. You may have already, you just didn’t recognize him or her. You only need to get out of your own head and be okay with who you are and how you feel right now. I know because I’m constantly getting in mine, and only when I see may way clear, the right thing usually happens. Note I didn’t say the good thing, but the right thing. The right thing is only that. The thing that’s is supposed to be.

  23. says

    Steve Jobs would have never created Apple, and the technology world would have never looked the same as today if he finished college. He said that then he felt that to be a failure, but look what that “failure” brought not just him, but the world too.

  24. khalid says

    Another big thank you! I’m from overseas and I’m reading and checking your blog almost daily. Great work Marc and Angel.

  25. Arzu says

    I read this blog post a few months ago, and was so happy because in your most recent blog post you linked to this one. This is definitely what I needed to read after yesterday.

    I felt like such a failure, a waste, all the while knowing that it was going to be a learning experience. I am feeling better today, and these tips definitely help. I’m trying to practice positive thinking but it’s a hard journey for someone who has always been pretty low confident throughout her life and has negative thoughts in her head constantly.

    Looking forward to a better future however :)

  26. Rose says

    I read this every night to help me fix my broken self from a mistake 2 months ago. Not yet fully healed, but I am getting there faster with your help. Thank you very much. :-)

  27. Ekush says

    Thank you so much for such a motivational article!!! It really helped me! Life does goes on, and I have to move forward, again and again.

  28. Steph says

    Thanks for this! I’ve had my own fair share of mistakes too, and while for me I was aware of my purpose in making the bold “mistake” (I didn’t want to be abused further), MANY people have vilified me without vilifying the whistleblower. Which placed me in another downward spiral.

    Your article helps and makes me strong.


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