Let’s talk about failure.

Failure has negative connotations that are often linked to fear and anxiety — which is a shame, because failure itself has unlimited potential to help us grow. It is through failure and making mistakes that we can discover novel and creative ideas. Take the light bulb, for example, developed by Thomas Edison, who is often credited with saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times — I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” This statement illustrates the power of failure and how to think positively about it.

Steve Jobs epitomized the daring and creativity of the tech industry’s pioneering entrepreneurs. His passion and drive for innovation and immaculate design is well documented. As CEO of Apple, Jobs created one of the most valuable and admired companies in the world and, along with it, a series of successful products. But before he led Apple to success, Jobs experienced a number of significant failures.

At the start of the 1980s, Jobs was under pressure from his board to develop another breakthrough product, like the Apple I and the Apple II personal computers had been. In 1980, he launched the Apple III, but unlike its predecessors, this model was a disaster; it had a price of $4,340 and was prone to catastrophic overheating.

In 1983, he launched the Lisa, a computer developed for business. Jobs was intent on making Lisa accessible to individual users rather than focusing solely on business users. The Lisa was as much of a failure as the Apple III.

In 1984, the company released the Macintosh (Mac). While it was initially celebrated by the media for its beautiful graphics, it turned out to be too underpowered to be useful, and Apple struggled to sell the Mac profitably.

This stream of failures meant trouble for Jobs, and in 1985, the board sacked him from the company he had co-founded in 1976. Being pushed out of the company he had worked so hard to grow into a recognizable brand was a failure. He admitted in 2005, “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone. It was devastating.”

However, in 1986, Jobs invested in Pixar Animation Studios, an American computer animation film company. In 1995, Pixar partnered with Disney to produce its first animated film, “Toy Story,” which went on to be a huge box office success. This masterstroke also coincided with Pixar’s initial public offering, making Jobs, who owned 80% of the company’s shares, a billionaire overnight.

Apple began to struggle in the 1990s, and Jobs returned as CEO. He turned Apple’s fortunes around with innovative products such as a more powerful Mac, which redefined how personal computers function; the iPod, which revolutionized the music industry; and the iPhone, which has played an important role in the evolution of smart mobile phones.

In 2005, Jobs, himself a college dropout, shared the three most important stories from his life in the commencement address at Stanford University. One of these stories was about failure and how important it is to success.

“I didn’t see it then,” Jobs said, “but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

The lesson, it seems, is fairly simple: Even the great business visionaries and luminaries of our times experience setbacks and failure. Jobs suffered professional rejection, career setbacks and a blow to his self-confidence, but he managed to accept his failures, see the good things that had come out of them and, crucially, to learn from them.

Why Failure and Positive Thinking Go Hand in Hand

Failure leads you to pursue more creative solutions. Accepting failure helps build resilience, which is important because success rarely happens on the first attempt. While it takes courage and belief in yourself to pick yourself up after a failure, it is your resilience that keeps you trying. Resilience will often ground you in reality, helping you to realize that success won’t happen overnight but will take hard work and effort.

People who accept failure do not see it as a reflection on themselves but a reflection of the process they have gone through. When things do not go according to plan, they are better able to bounce back and try an alternative. You can harness the experience and knowledge you gain when you encounter failure in the future to help you succeed.

Failure also helps you grow and mature. It helps you to challenge your purpose and beliefs about what you are trying to achieve, which helps you to reflect and put things into perspective. As long as you can identify why you failed, failure can be a brilliant teacher and help you to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Finally, failure teaches you to value your success. If you have gone through periods of failure, when the success comes, you will not take it from granted. You will feel that you have earned your success when you reflect on the dark days. There is nothing better than achieving success after going through periods of failure to get there.

Traditionally, the positive thinking philosophy advocates that you will achieve whatever you want purely by thinking positive thoughts. By rethinking the true meaning of positive thinking for the 21st century, you can find different ways of creating new possibilities so that you make the right decisions and live a more balanced, meaningful and contented life. Use your own failures to create a world full of possibilities.