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Failure and Your Brain

Teenager gestures while explaining something to her teacher.

Center for BrainHealth

How can failure help you realize potential?

Everybody fails. But failures are hidden opportunities. Reframe mistakes as chances to grow and improve. What a failure means depends on your perspective.


Putting yourself down because of past failures is bad for your brain. From any starting point, focusing on what you have learned and what you can do better next time helps create positive direction and ignite higher-level thinking and innovation.


  • Reflect about how you could have made better choices.
  • Anticipate when you will be able to apply this knowledge.
  • Manage stress: Breathe, get outdoors and rejoin the moment.
  • Find the humor, or quiet beauty, within less-than-perfect situations.

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