We all know the feeling. You write a great report, but your boss points out one point that’s wrong. You nearly close that deal, but the client backs out at the last second. You fall just short of whatever goal you had.

Not quite getting where we want to be can feel like a failure. But, historian Sarah Lewis suggests, these “near wins” get us closer to mastery than if we had succeeded. “We thrive not when we have done it all, but when we still have more to do,” she explains. In other words, when we fall just short of our goals, it gives us something to keep striving for.

Check out the video below for stories of how others have used the power of their near wins to get further than they could have imagined—and inspiration for using your own “failures” to your advantage.


Photo of silver medal courtesy of Shutterstock.