5 Ways Resilient People Use Failure to Their Advantage

03/17/2015 04:43 pm ET | Updated May 16, 2015

While some people go to great lengths to avoid uncomfortable emotions, resilient people have a remarkable ability to tolerate distress. They face hard times--professional and personal--with determination to do their best and confidence they'll be able to handle whatever life throws their way.

Whether they get passed up for a promotion, or they are turned down for a date, resilient people don't allow rejection to devalue their self-worth. Instead, they view failure as an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become better. Here are the five strategies resilient people use to bounce back after failure:

1. They practice gratitude. Resilient people recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances are, their situation could always be worse. They don't allow themselves to exaggerate how terrible their problems are and they don't run around predicting how much worse things are going to get. Instead, they view failure with an accurate perspective.

Rather than become upset their first attempt didn't work, resilient people choose to be grateful they had the opportunity to try. They remind themselves that many of today's setbacks won't matter next year. Their willingness to look for the silver lining keeps their mood positive and they continue to behave productively, even when things don't work out the way they'd hoped.

2. They look for the lessons they can learn. Rather than make excuses for their failures, resilient people learn from each mistake. They identify skills, ideas, and life lessons that can be gained from each failed opportunity.

They view failure as evidence that they're stretching themselves to the limits. They know that if they don't ever fall down, they're not trying hard enough. Each stumble provides proof that they're pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones, which is an essential component to self-growth.

3. They respect their vulnerabilities. Resilient people aren't afraid to admit they have weaknesses. Whether an effective leader acknowledges problems within an organization, or an individual recognizes areas in need of personal growth, resilient people use failure as an opportunity to spot their weaknesses.

Rather than dispute their shortcomings or hide their mistakes, resilient people are authentic. Their humble, self-aware approach assists them in developing strategies to become better.

4. They acknowledge their strengths. Resilient people use failure as an opportunity to recognize their positive attributes. Whether that means recalling skills they've used during previous tough time, or acknowledging the talents that have helped them get to where they are today, they know their strengths.

When resilient people acknowledge their capabilities, they do so without arrogance. They don't need to brag to others about their characteristics or achievements. Instead, they're able to simply acknowledge what they do well so they can use their strengths to their advantage.

5. They create a plan to become better. Instead of viewing failure as the end, resilient people think of it as only the beginning. When their attempt to complete a project or task doesn't give them the results they want, they pause to consider how to approach the issue differently the next time.

A resilient person's self-worth isn't dependent upon achievement. Resilient people are able to feel good about themselves even when they aren't at the top of their game. Their confidence allows them to face repeated failure with tenacity.

Everyone has the ability to build mental strength and develop increased resilience. It's all about the choices we make and the desire to become better. With hard work, we can learn to use setbacks as opportunities to grow stronger.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do.