Failures are common no matter which walks of life you come from. Author Allen Klein once said, “I contend that not only can you laugh at adversity, but it is essential to do so if you are to deal with setbacks without defeat.” He hit the nail on the head with this statement.

A study done by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management showed actual scientific evidence to support that old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” According to Dr. Yang Wang, Ph.D., people who keep pushing past their setbacks come out much better in the long run.

Conquering adversity in life makes you a strong individual, as evidenced by Dr. Wang’s research as well as others’ research. Keep reading to find how setbacks can make you stronger, according to these scientists and other counselors.

Areas of Impact from Setbacks

People tend to think that you learn the biggest lessons from being successful or from successful people. However, this is not necessarily true. While it’s true that it takes a high level of intelligence to reach success, you learn what to do from being successful. However, you learn what not to do from failing.

Maybe winning without failure sounds efficient, but knowledge is power, and you get that from trying new things. Failures prepare you for many scenarios you may encounter during your success because you will know what to do when these situations arise in the future.

Remember that adversity is an equal opportunity teacher. Studies show that it equally affects people no matter their age, race, gender, cultural background, or social status.


One of the biggest areas of impact is determination. Failures can increase your determination, especially when you realize that failure is not the end. Someone could tell you all day long that you have a second chance at whatever you failed at, but the experience is the best way for you to see this.

Failing does not mean that it’s over. Failing simply shows you that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you can bounce back from them. Once you’ve clued into this, your determination will become stronger than ever.

Emotional Maturity

Another area of impact which is not typically recognized often is emotional maturity. You may not think that emotional maturity is important when trying to succeed, but you would be wrong.

When you encounter setbacks, it can be heart-wrenching. Your emotions may be all over the place, depending on how bad the setback is. However, the more you fail, the better you get at handling these problems.

As you get better at handling problems, you will also get better at managing your emotions. Emotions out of control can cause you to make bad decisions, give up on your goals, and ultimately be a weak person. This is why emotional maturity is so important. You shed all these bad habits, keep your emotions under control, and keep pushing forward despite any failures you may encounter.


One big area impacted by failures is pride or humility, depending on how you look at it. Many people, especially people who don’t fail often, have too much pride. You can’t tell them anything. In fact, they have so much pride that they have a long way to fall when they do fail.

While pride has its place in life, it can also cause many problems. Failing helps you keep your pride under control and give you a layer of humility. This layer of humility is what gives you the ability to absorb life lessons.

Think about it – An extremely proud person does not think that there’s anything that anyone can teach them. This is a mistake because life is never done teaching you lessons. Failure is what enables you to continue learning to grow and become the best version of yourself.

Determination, emotional maturity, and humility are three parts of a perfect package to help you reach success. Failure is simply putting these three skills to practice. As you develop these three skills, you become a stronger person.

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Failure Gives Success its Value

Confucius said, “better a diamond with a flaw, then a pebble without.” Many people think that success is flawless. However, this is far from the truth. The road to success, paved with failures, is much more valuable than the perfect, flawless road to success.

As stated above, failures teach you lessons. The value in those lessons is immeasurable. If you reach success without these lessons, you have really earned nothing.

The value of success is not measured in numbers. It is measured in knowledge, skill, sweat. It is measured by what you learned along the way and the obstacles that you conquered. Without failures, there is no value in success. Without setbacks, you really have not grown at all.

The key to building the value of your success through failures is to learn not to look at adversity as a failure. It would help if you looked at them as lessons. You are the student, and life is the teacher. Every time you mess something up or every time something doesn’t go your way put the emotions to the side (emotional maturity) and find something that you can learn from the situation. Make a mental note or even a physical note if you need to refer to what you’ve learned later.

Some of the greatest and most successful people in the world suffer failures along the way. Some of them were even catastrophic failures that caused them to have to start from the beginning. If these people had not learned from these failures and had given in, the world would have missed out on some of the best inventions, events, businesses, sports, and more.

One example is Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players in history. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He lost so many games during his career, missed so many shots, and let his team down numerous times. He could have thrown in the towel at any moment. However, he kept pushing until he was not just his best, but he was the best. Now he is a player that all other NBA players aspire to be. He is a diamond with flaws, but he is much better than that pebble.

How to Get Stronger from Your Failures

Getting stronger from adversity is not going to happen overnight but reading this article and taking this advice is a great first step towards that goal. Once you have a good understanding of the information above, you can start taking more tangible steps to become stronger from your challenges. Some of these steps are listed below.

1. Be a glass-half-full type of person.

You can’t get stronger by being negative all the time. According to a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, Amy Morin, Psy.D, you need to think about setbacks in a productive way. Otherwise, you could develop unproductive behavior or stall your self-development progress.

When you experience challenges and failures, look for the silver lining. Anything positive that you can pull from it is what’s going to make you stronger. Don’t think of your challenges as failures. Think of them as ways that you can improve yourself.

2. Learn from your mistakes the first time around.

You may have heard the saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” You will not get stronger by repeating the same mistakes.

You need to learn from the mistakes the first time and make sure that you do things differently. Otherwise, you are really not learning anything. If you’re not learning anything, you’re not getting stronger.

3. Sometimes, you must lose to win.

In many cases, a failure is not really a failure at all. It is simply a push in a different direction.

No one wins every single battle. However, the point is to win the war. There will be times when you must take a loss or failure, and you cannot get personal about it.

Learn to let things roll off your shoulders. If something goes wrong, don’t dwell on it. Take the lessons you have learned and move on to the next battle.

Final Thoughts on How Setbacks Make You Stronger

If you have been paying attention thus far, you will notice that the central theme of this piece was that learning from your mistakes is how setbacks can make you stronger. If you do not learn anything, then your failure is just that – a failure.

In life, learning never ends. It doesn’t matter how old you get, how much money you make, how many friends you have, or how many awards you win. You will always continue learning. The moment you feel that there is nothing else for you to learn, you have failed.

Strength comes from knowing that there is more out there. It would be best if you accepted that you have more to fight for and more to gain. After all, if there were nothing more out there, then you wouldn’t need to be strong anymore.

Just keep in mind that you will see yourself getting stronger and stronger with every setback you face in your life if you learn from failure.