"Failure-ism" is a word I invented to describe the belief that everything you do ultimately fails. You can recognize this flawed belief system in a person when they say things like, "I'm just a loser" and "Nothing I try ever works."

Unfortunately, each of us has evidence to prove we fail. Some have struggled to make a relationship work yet ended up splitting. Many worked hard to get a promotion, and instead, were laid-off or fired. Every one of us has real-life stories of effort that failed.

To fail is common but to allow your letdowns to keep you down adds misery to misery. Failure-ism becomes a way of life when you focus only on your missteps and allow them to become the major mark of your personal identity. Once failure is adopted as a way of life, your anticipation of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Let's say you want to start a business. So you work and plan and save and plan and work and save, but through it all, you have this nagging belief that "it doesn't matter how hard I work or how much I plan, I will still fail." If that is what you say, if that is what you visualize and expect, you are prophesying your failure, and far too often, your prophecies come true.

How do you start losing failure-ism as a lifestyle? Four suggestions:

Learn from each flop. Make your mistakes your mentor; review and learn from them—but don't repeat them. The great automobile innovator, Henry Ford, made so many mistakes on his way to success he filed bankruptcy twice. In 1896 he quit his day job and went to work in his garage and invented what he called a Quadricycle. However, the talented engineer could not make a profit and repay his investors, so he filed for bankruptcy.

Undeterred, Ford relaunched his company and failed again, so he filed for bankruptcy a second time. However, Ford did not allow his failures to discourage him – they made him more determined to succeed. Eventually, he got it right. Between 1908 and 1927, Ford built and sold some 15 million Model T cars. It was the longest production run of any automobile model in history until the Volkswagen Beetle surpassed it in 1972.

Change how you talk. Any inner dialogue you have with yourself that limits your ability to believe in yourself and your God-given gifts and talents stops personal growth. For your own sake, stop prophesying your failures. Deny access to your heart any thought that diminishes your ability to become the person you are created to be.

There are four different types of self-talk: instructional, motivational, positive, and negative. It's the negative self-talk that keeps you failing. However, positive self-talk sets you in the right direction. A recent study of athletes found that positive self-talk is the primary predictor of success.[i] No one ever won a race while standing at the starting line and declaring, “I’m gonna lose this race!” Only you can decide what comes out of your mouth.

Head back to the workshop. No matter how often you fail, don't give up. After each failure, Henry Ford returned to the workshop, where he reimagined his idea of an automobile. His personal commitment created one of the world’s greatest success stories. Today, the F-series Ford is by far the most popular pickup truck in the world. Henry Ford said, "The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."

When you fail, get back to your workshop (office, gym, studio, computer, kitchen, garage, etc.) as soon as possible. Reimagine your idea or restructure your business model or restart anew based on what you learned from your failures. The great British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said, "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

In her book, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success, Angela Duckworth writes, "...there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine...you've got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people...Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you're willing to stay loyal to it...it's doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love."

Learn from each flop; change how you talk; go back to the workshop, and one day you will reach your mountaintop.

Failure hurts. No one wants to get an "F" on an exam or file bankruptcy or get fired from a job. But failure is the only way to succeed. Failure either locks you into a false identity (I'm a dud), or it unlocks your potential (Here’s what I’ve learned…). View your losses as steppingstones, not gravestones. See your mistakes as messengers of faith, hope, and change and not a predictor of futility. Someone once said, "The best view comes after the hardest climb."

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ross is the co-founder of Powerful Seniors, an author, publisher, and speaker. He lives in Loveland, Colo.