5 Ways to Turn Failure into Success

You might recognize Nev Schulman from his popular MTV show, "Catfish."

Now officially adopted in the Oxford dictionary, catfish [kat-fish] is a verb in the English language:

Catfish: To pretend to be someone you're not online by posting false information, such as someone else's pictures, on social media sites usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you.


In each episode of Catfish, with the guidance and help of Schulman, and friend, Max Joseph, a hopeful romantic partner will go on an emotional journey to discover the truth about the person with whom they have had a romantic online relationship--but never met in person.

The drama unfolds when viewers find out whether or not their significant other has been telling the truth. There is mystery, forgiveness and sometimes shocking results.

Schulman knows first-hand about the deception that often comes with online relationships. His own catfish story was the subject of his award-winning documentary that landed him his MTV show deal.

Now a seasoned veteran of vicarious online relationships and a famous front man, Schulman is trying to use his fame and storytelling prowess to make the world a better place.

Here are 5 important lessons anyone can learn about how to make lemonade when life hands you lemons:

1. Failure (and success) are never final destinations

It may not feel like it at the time but you are almost never out for the count when you get knocked down. Failure is temporary if you decide to get back up when you fall. In fact, I'd bet that most of the time we accept defeat before it actaully happens.

Whatever the case, acutal or imagined, some of the best advice I've ever been given came from author Seth Godin who told me "the person who fails the most wins." The reason this is true is because those who "try and try again" without quitting or failing too far to recover eventually figure it out.

2. Choose to be a survivor not victim

Nev Schulman could have let his tragic catfish experience destroy him. He felt humiliated, betrayed and a range of other intense emotions. But he chose to shift into survivor mode and instead took control of his loss by becoming its boss.

3. Avoid negative filters

Negative filters happen when you pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively. This could be a weakness you have, body image issues or a recent rejection. Your vision of reality becomes darkened, like a drop of ink that discolors the water. Your perception becomes your reality and you don't have a clear picture of what's actually happening.

(HT to Dr. David Burns who has a large body of research on this subject.)

4. Make significant changes

Sometimes you really need to make drastic changes. I recently sat down with The Huffington Post boss, Arianna Huffington, who did exactly that a few years ago after she collapsed from exhaustion and fractured her face.

Arianna realized that she wasn't taking care of her health and made new commitments to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night no matter what business opportunites she had to pass up. She is now working much smarter and says she's even more productive than ever.

I highly recommend that you check out her book "Thrive" here.

5. Don't hold on to grudges

To be honest, this is one of the toughest ones for me. Do you have a secret Black list for everyone who has ever done you wrong?

Maybe a big company rejected your proposal? A trusted employee betrayed you? You were passed over by your boss for a promotion you should have received. I have experienced all of these several times.

You don't need to minimize your experience because these kinds of things are a legitimate bummer. The important action is how we react and repond when bad stuff happens. Despite how it looks on the surface, no one is ammune to adversity. It's going to come so we should be ready.

It's tough to let very reasonable disappointments go. But grudges can weigh us down and even lead to our own destruction. It's been said, "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." It's not worth it so don't do it.

What did I leave out? Post a comment, tweet me @BryanElliott and I promise to reply. Share this with someone who needs it. Watch more Behind the Brand videos for free from our full library here.