Each step on a ladder doesn’t get one to his destination, any more than every stepping stone gets us across the stream. Every so-called “failure” can be a valuable learning experience and enable us to become better instead of bitter.

By going through the hard times, we learn what doesn’t work, what our weaknesses and strengths are, what and whom to avoid, and how to capitalize on our strengths. Sometimes, we have to endure the same painful experience over again, until we learn the lesson hidden therein. Like the man who kept finding his marriages ending in messy divorces and his relationships with women floundering, until he realized he was hooking up (if you’ll excuse the pun) with women he met in semi-inebriated states in bars.

Instead of beating yourself up and feeling like a loser, see your past as a series of preparatory lessons. Instead of lowering your expectations, rethink your action plan in light of what you have learnt. Carl Jung wrote, “Life really does begin at forty – up until then, you are just doing research.” for some of us, it’s more like fifty or sixty. It’s never too late to start over. Einstein said the the only source of knowledge is experience, and Julius Caesar wrote, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” So I am grateful for ALL my experiences, good and bad. I was just building the bridge to more success.

When looking for a business opportunity, for example, make a list of all the things you don’t want and aren’t good at, and the types of people you don’t want to be associated with. Then make a list of the kinds of people you do want to be associated with, your strengths and skills, the kinds of businesses / products / services you like, and your risk aversion / tolerance level. Then go looking for a good match.

I know a fellow who experienced failure and mediocre success is two ventures I am familiar with, yet when he found the latest one he took off like a rocket: he “found his niche” and has never looked back. All his past frustrations served as energy, motivation, experience… and instead of becoming a whiner, he became a winner. He recognized the ideal opportunity for him when he saw it, and he knew what to do because of what he had experienced in the past. He never gave up.

For example, if you don’t like recruiting or selling, and you don’t like risk, this could be a good option. (Especially if you don’t want to rely on other people.) If you like recruiting and building a team but you prefer to keep the risk very low, this will work for you (sign up here). I love both of these. Find a fit for your personality and what you’re comfortable with, and you will do well.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com