How to Deal With Failure as an Ambitious Individual

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Are you ambitious?

Are you a goal getter?

Do you have dreams that you are chasing?

In an article titled: “Why Do 9 Out Of 10 People Never Live Their Dreams?”, the following is said:


“9 out of 10 people don’t even remember their dreams. They only know the facts and the facts are that escaping the 9-5 treadmill is on everybody’s mind, but only a few are actually taking action. Why is this?”


There are possibly a dozen different answers. However, in the same way that all roads lead to Rome, I really believe all answers related to my question have one thing in common: failure. We are all born with a go-getter spirit.

Unfortunately, over time, as you transcend from adolescence to adulthood and from adulthood to parenthood, life knocks some reality into you.

You get betrayed.

You get hurt by those you trust.

Your employer places you on a ‘long-term leadership, management or executive program’ that never materializes. In fact, too rub salt to injury, a less qualified and experienced colleague gets the position you’ve been promised.

You try the business world, and it just never seems to be the right time. Financial institutions give you the bureaucratic run around. Numerous doors get shut in your face. Then it’s your love life that seems to be going around in a vicious cycle.

Not to mention that weight you’ve been trying to shed for the past couple of years, with very little success!


5 Ways To Deal With Failure

Does any of the above sound familiar?

The above is many a familiar story for the majority of society. In fact, life failure crushes society so hard that eventually 90% decide to settle for mediocrity. Eventually “existence” replaces that ambitious, go-getting spirit you once had.

I was once in a place of despair and confusion. The cause: the very examples I’ve listed above. Yep, they all applied to me. Until one day, I decided to turn things around.

In this post, I want to give you 5 ways to deal with failure as an ambitious person.


1) Create A Powerful Vision and Mission Statement

This always sounded like hogwash to me back in high school and varsity. Until one day I set aside the whole of December 2008 to craft a Vision and Mission Statement that would define my life FOREVER!

I believe we all have a purpose. That purpose is to provide solutions to everyday life problems by using our talents, gifts and educational or life experiences. How you picture yourself doing it (Vision) and how you go about implementing (Mission) and fulfilling that purpose differs from one person to the next.

Below is my Vision and Mission statement.

Share knowledge with motivated individuals on the power of living a life that is centered around loving GOD and loving His people.

In doing so, I endeavor to create awareness around living a life of abundance by providing a wealth of solutions on achieving ultimate life balance spiritually, mentally, physically, relation-ally, career-wise, pleasurably, financially and charitably.

Setting that Vision and Mission for your life is the foundation to deal with failure and future challenges that lie ahead.

A Vision and Mission Statement gives you convictions that will far out-weigh the heartaches and pain caused by failure.

Ambitious Quote

2) List All Your Goals

Goals are powerful. Enough has been written about the importance of goals. Ironically, very few people make the time to sit down and actually list all their life goals. If you dedicated enough time, thought and energy to your Vision and Mission, listing your goals will become easier.

Just by listing your goals, you’ve leap frogged 70% of society because most people never bother to write their goals down. When I first did this exercise, I listed 65 life goals.

Sounds crazy right?

But, I look back and realize how that exercise changed my life around.

Because my Vision and Mission statement is broken up into 8 key areas (Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Relational, Career, Pleasure, Financial & Charity), I had goals for each area.

Below are 10 of my goals that I listed back then:

  • Spiritual – Read my Bible and Pray Daily
  • Mental – Read 2 books that develop me in the 8 key areas of my life
  • Physical – Run at least one Comrades Marathon
  • Relational – Spend more quality time with my dad, mom and younger sister
  • Career – Become a full time Blogger and Property Investor
  • Pleasure – Travel to a minimum of 20 countries
  • Financial – Launch a minimum of 3 websites that will generate a minimum profit of R1 million
  • Charity – Work with a local Non-Profit Organisation

These are just 8 out a list of 65. I don’t know what your life goals are. But, I urge you to think them through carefully. If you think it through and write it down, the chances of it getting achieved and avoiding failure is so much higher.


3) List All The Benefits Of Your Goals

Setting goals and writing them down is half the victory.

The hidden and less spoken about truth is that you WILL (not maybe) come across massive, heart-breaking challenges. The most effective way of dealing with this is to list the benefits of your goals. Listing the benefits addresses to very key issues.

The first is that it establishes your motives. It establishes the “why”.

I mentioned earlier that our purpose is that of adding value by solving everyday life problems. If your goals are selfish and “me” centered, you will fail dismally. Sometimes, and more painful, you will achieve your goals but have very little fulfillment.

The second is that your benefits will remind why giving up is actually a waste of time. Let’s have a look at some examples. I’ll refer back to my goals.


Goal 1: Read my Bible and Pray Daily

Benefits of reading the Bible: have convictions about life, understand God’s Will, stay positive about life at all times, know what God’s promises about my life are.

Benefits of Praying: confess God’s Word to Him, acknowledge God’s supremacy in my life, deal with challenges without having to turn to substance abuse.


Goal 2: Read 2 books that develop me in the 5 key areas of my life

Benefits: improve vocabulary, start having a list of mentors in the different areas of my life, improve my creativity by tapping into other people’s thinking patterns, stay positive mentally.


Goal 3: Run Comrades Marathon

Benefits: stay fit, think clearly, have energy to execute on my goals, enjoy the fruits of my hard work, serve God with a healthy and sound body, develop the ability to deal with pain and challenges, develop the ability to stay focused over lengthy periods, learn how to be patient.


Goal 4: Spend more time with my dad, mom and younger sister

Benefits: strengthen family bond, assist one another through the challenges of life, share and cherish special moments.


Goal 5: Become a full time Blogger and Property Investor

Benefits: time freedom, sharing life’s abundance.


Goal 6: Travel to a minimum of 20 countries

Benefits: Reward myself for hard work, grow by learning about other cultures and nations, bless my family with my financial rewards.


Goal 7: Launch a minimum of 3 websites that will generate a minimum profit of R1 million

Benefits: become debt free, make passive income, run online businesses that give me time freedom to do the things that really matter to me, run online businesses that have very low overhead costs, reach out to people globally, run businesses that are active 24/7.


Goal 8: Work with a local Non-Profit Organisation

Benefits: learn to become self-less, learn to work with people better, give of my time and money without expecting anything in return.


Can you now see what a list of benefits does?

Do you also begin to see the link between the different goals and benefits? There is an inter-dependent relationship between the goals. The goals don’t exist in isolation.

Most importantly, whenever the thought of giving up comes to mind, I simply think of all the benefits I will forfeit and I simply get back despite the challenges.

Robin Sharma Picture Quote 8


4) Surround yourself with Relevant People

There are 2 types of relationships that are key for anyone who is ambitious.

Cliché as it may sound, the first is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. I am astonished at the type of dream-killer relationships people have. As the saying goes, you can’t expect to fly as high as an eagle when you are in the company of chickens.

The second type of relationships is having mentors who know what failure is. Many people will claim to have mentors. But a mentor who can’t shepherd you beyond your failures is good for nothing!

One of my goals in the list of 65 was to attend church regularly (at least once a weekend).

The benefit?

Spiritual food from my Senior Pastors – people who know what takes to slog it out over time and overcome challenges and deal with failure. Every weekend, I get priceless encouragement and wisdom from people that know what failure is and know how to overcome it.


5) Consider Your Failure As Temporary

I have mentioned and will repeat it – you WILL fail. But, a slight change of perspective will do you a world of good. Simply treat all your failure as temporary.

I have a blog called “Run For Wealth” – as a result of my goal to launch 3 websites. What people don’t know is that in the 7 years on, Run For Wealth is my 5th attempt.

Prior to launching it, I have unsuccessfully launched 3 others:

  • Petenionline
  • InspireMeToWealth
  • Personal Financial Challenge

I also launched a 4th named “How To Create Passive Income Biz”. I have put that one on hold and will continue working on it at a later stage.

The above 4 failures, I simply consider as temporary.

I’ve got a Purpose, supported by a Vision and Mission.

Linked to that is a goal of launching at least websites that will generate a minimum of R1 million. When I think of the incredible benefits I will derive when I reach that goal – I simply put aside the failures, consider them as temporary and keep pushing on.

Being ambitious and driven is a heavy burden for anyone to carry. For most, they eventually give in to the burden and turn their backs on their dreams, only to live a life of mediocrity and frustration.


I really hope this article will awaken in you the need to continue chasing your dreams despite the failure you’ve experienced or are likely to experience on your journey to success.

What are some other ways to deal with failure as an ambitious individual?

Peteni Kuzwayo
Peteni Kuzwayo
Peteni is the Editor of Run For Wealth, a blog established with the mission of helping people “Run A Fulfilling Life Race”. As an Ultra-marathon athlete, he shares his running experiences, gives tips and advice on running and uses running as a metaphor to show people how to live a fulfilling life. He has run over 20 Marathons, 10 Ultra-marathons and 3 Comrades Marathons.


  1. It can be very tough to fail. It drives me crazy though to see so many people never start just because they might fail. You have already failed if you never start!

    This is a great motivational post, love it!

    Your images with the quotes are awesome, you should add pinterest and tweet buttons to them, I wanted to tweet them out so badly…


    • Hi Chris

      It’s true, so many people never start out of fear of failing. If only they could realize that failing is part and parcel of the journey to success. When we get that perspective, we begin to view failure from a completely different perspective.

      I must say, I love the pictures as well. They rock!

  2. Hey Peteni,
    Inspirational post. Thanks for sharing and boosting us. Traveling is the best idea to get over failure because it helps to occupy our mind in other things and divert our thoughts from negativity.

    • Hi Trevor
      I’m glad you found the post inspirational. Indeed, to succeed, we need to find pro-active strategies to overcome thoughts of negativity.


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