Failure is such a negative word that it seems strange to suggest that it can be a good thing. How many times have you looked back on your life, thought of mistakes you’ve made, and kicked yourself over them? I know I sure have. I have had many failures in my life. I have lost a job; I have mismanaged my money; and I have had trouble in relationships. But life goes on as it should.
You see many people allow failure to hold them back, when in reality failure can be a good thing! Fear of failure prevents many people from following their dreams or having a go at something new. Fear of failing is failure in itself because it holds back so many would-be success stories. I often remember what Zig Ziglar once said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” How profound is that?!
History has shown that the most successful exploits frequently came on the back of failure. Just think of Winston Churchill. He failed the sixth grade and was defeated in every single election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the young age of 62. Or, how about Albert Einstein. He did not speak until he was four years old, and couldn’t read until he was seven. His parents thought he was “sub-normal.” He was expelled from school and his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrip forever in foolish dreams.” You see where I am going with this. Failure is actually on our side. Failing allows us to grow, learn, and find new opportunities. Here is what I mean:
Failure means you have courage
Even though you didn’t get the results you wanted, at least you were trying to do something. So many people let the fear of failure prevent them from reaching for their dreams. So don’t be worried about a failure – at least you had the courage to have a go. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is feeling the fear and taking action anyway. When you have a go, despite the possibility of failure, you show that you have great courage.
Failure makes you stronger
When you don’t get the result you want, you can become more determined to succeed. At first you probably feel discouraged, frustrated or upset but these feelings don’t last forever. You then get a burst of determination and strength of purpose to try again. Failure makes you more focused on a successful outcome next time.
Failure helps you learn
It was Thomas Edison who said that he hadn’t failed in his hundreds of attempts to create the light bulb. His answer when questioned about his ‘failures’ was that he hadn’t failed, he had just found hundreds of ways that it didn’t work. This is the mentality of geniuses and successful people. Failure to get the results you wanted is not a negative thing; it is simply an opportunity to try a different method. It is also the opportunity to start again.
Failure helps you grow
When your efforts don’t work out, you have to reach deep inside to find the strength to try again. To solve the problem and make sure you get the desired result, you need to extend yourself and so you grow. You need to stretch and possibly move outside your comfort zone. After experiencing failure, you will never be the same as you were before you tried. You don’t know how far you can go until you have tried and failed.
Failure creates new opportunities
Many people believe that everything happens for a reason, we just don’t know what it is at the time. Failures often bring unforeseen opportunities that would not have been available without the failure in the first place. You often need to close one door so that another door of opportunity can be opened for you. Failure is a way of one door closing. Failure is seldom the end; it is often a bright beginning.
Failure provides answers
If you don’t try and fail, you will never know if your idea or method is going to work. You spend time worrying that you don’t have the answer; you wonder whether it would have worked. The pain of regret is far worse than the pain of failure. When you fail, you can start again; with regret, you will never know.
Failure gives you the best chance of success
Research out of Stanford University has shown that those who are the top of their field are the ones who have failed the most. Having to persevere to learn a new skill gives you the advantage over someone who gets it right first time. Learning many ways how not to do it gives you the edge over the person who hasn’t have that experience.
Don’t view failure as bad luck, instead look at each attempt to reach your goals as a triumph. There’s always something to learn, ways to grow, different viewpoints to see, and new opportunities waiting just around the corner. So get in and have a go. Fail fast and recover quickly to try again. Use every failure as an opportunity to learn and to grow as a person. Remember that every failure is like one step on the stairway to success. Above all else, remember this: If you never fail, you will never succeed.
So, have you failed in your life at something? What have you learned from it? If you don’t mind sharing, please tell me your failure story? I would love to hear it.
Failure is the stepping stone to success! No kid starts walking without faltering initially – natures law.
Well said. Even as infants we are exposed to failure and we learn from it.
I have learned to embrace what others define as failure. Sometimes I find that failure is what I wanted. Pride is a hard beast to overcome, but once you do, you become so much more powerful.
Well said John. Humility is one of the best qualities to have.
I try very hard to not let my opinions or pride get in the way in a situation. Objectivity and optimism are what should be focused on. Life is a journey that we should embrace.
This reminds me of that Edison quote about how he did not fail a bunch of times before inventing the light bulb, he just found 10,000 ways that it didn’t work (or something like that…) 🙂 When I was young I was very proud and found every way to avoid failure or detract attention from it. I still don’t like to fail very much but I’ve learned to brush myself off and be better. I don’t mind it nearly as much now as I used to and I much prefer it that way.
Embracing failure comes with life experience and maturity. As a child we don’t have either so our reactions to things are different. I am glad you now see the situations that come across in your life as an opportunity now. That’s great.
We are a society WAY afraid of failing and looking stupid. It makes it easier for people with the fortitude to realize that you’re never going to win right away without experience….and experience often means failure.
I, of course, have zero fear of failure, which is why I keep showing up to write silly stuff online every day.
Well said. Experience and learning what doesn’t work is key to doing what does work.
I guess I have no fear either as I too have a site where I post silly things.
I am glad to hear you are going to try to approach your situation positively. This is really important in moving on and making progress towards what is next. Note though that we are all human and do have an emotional side and need to time to react and adjust. However the key is to not dwell on the negative and look forward.
Completely agree: if you want to double your success, double your failures. Apart from that, the Pareto principle seems to be working with trying things as well – eight out of ten are not going to work. Successful people focus on the two and continue trying.
On a different matter, hope you had a wonderful break and love to have you back.
Thanks Maria. We had a complete blast. I am very mentally rested however it has taken me over a week to get over the jet lag. When I get some time, I am going to post a few picks.
I like how say it- double success means double failures. So true. We have to just keep trying until we succeed.
Great post! Failure gives you invaluable experience to carry on to the next try. I agree that people are too afraid to fail. What’s the worse that can happen? Once you figured that out, you just need to commit and do it.
Yup. People seem to focus on the negative and don’t see the positive that can come out of something. The funny thing is that over the long term, they don’t succeed because of this negativity.
It is so important to fail – it really does help you learn what works and what doesn’t!
That is how I have been able to do what I have done. I have had to screw up a few times first.
I’ll freely admit I feel like I was failing at my job for the first 6 months! Now that I have that experience under my belt, I do feel stronger for it – and I learned a lot from it.
I have felt the same way at a job before. I like to call it the learning curve. It is true though; once you learn what works and what doesn’t, you feel so much better. Glad you are more confident and your job now. Your persistence paid off.
Failure drains confidence and failure hurts our career growth. Failure also makes us down in front of others. To me failure has only one positive aspect, it teaches a lesson. If failure has so many advantages, why we all don’t want to fail all the time??
Some could see it that way for sure. People’s reactions to our results I think is the biggest issue of them all. If we weren’t so worried about what others thought, we would probably all take more risks and try different things. It is that concern over what others might say or do in response that holds us back.
As far as confidence goes, I like to try to look at the opposite way. If I fail, I can be more confident that I have reduced the amount of ways to not do something and am closer to finding the right way.
Far too many people want to hit the ball out of the park and believe it should all come easily to them. Sometimes it does, but knowing how to endure a difficult time and emerge victorious can be a valuable skill as well for most people. However, it seems that we would rather the “easy” route, even if it costs us growth, missed opportunities, and lack of clarity on the best direction for our lives.
Well said. Human nature wants to default to the safest and easiest path all of the time. Heading face first into the fire so to speak does not come naturally. It is definitely something we need to train ourselves to get used to.
Yeah, I think we have to condition ourselves to have that type of courage.
No one ever succeeded without failing a few times first. As the song goes, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Smart singer hey?!
I totally agree. When I think of the adversity I have faced in my life, I am grateful for it. I have learned so much about life and myself and I use this knowledge to better live my life. It’s a blessing really.
Great article Miss T, glad to see you back behind the keyboard. Here is one more quote for you: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Thanks. I am glad to be back. He could do more than just play b ball hey?!
Couldn’t agree more…embracing failure is the first step to success! I saw an interview with the lady who invented Spanx after she was featured in Forbes, and that was essentially her mantra.
Interesting. It seems that if we really listen, many people have failed and say it is how they became successful.
Awesome post Miss T and welcome back! I really wished I was taught to fail more when I was younger. So much was stressed on success, but nothing was taught about failing being the critical first step. Thank you!
Thanks. Great to be back. I had a similar upbringing to you. Failure was looked at as bad and you weren’t anything if you weren’t great. A lot of pressure and unrealistic really.
You must go through many obstacles in order to reach your goal, failing is a part of it no matter how you look at it.
They say that every failure is an opportunity, and I do agree. It is telling that many entrepreneurs actually started when they lost their jobs. Desperate times can sometimes be the exact spark that we need.
I agree and I have seen this proven true. I have found I have learned a lot from the failure I have had in my life and if anything I have been better off because of it.
I could not stop myself from writing this comment. It is true. Failure is just another side of success. A toddler falls so many times to learn how to walk. Our journey is full of failures and each of them shows us the path to success.
I would definitely agree. Failure is our opportunity to find our way.
Love it! Especially the part about creating new opportunities. Some of the greatest things that have ever happened to me were a direct result of a “failure” immediately preceding it. And Einstein…he has a quote somewhere about how everyone’s a genius, but you wouldn’t know the genius of a fish if you tried to form him to climb a tree. Or something like that. Everyone’s different and it takes some time to find the path that best suits you.
I haven’t heard of that Einstein quote before. I am going to have to look it up.
You are like me. I too have had numerous good things happen post failures. Just makes us want to fail hey?!
Things do take time. I know for me it took most of my 20’s to really figure out who I was.
I failed at being a mother to my child. My first marriage was very abusive and my husband hid my daughter from me when she was 5 and told me I would never see or have a relationship with her. He then kicked me out. I have tried for nearly 20 years to have a relationship with her, with no avail. When she turned 18 I thought for sure she would want to have a relationship with me regardless of what her father has said. The only times I would hear from her is when her father would not give her money and she was told that, “Mom is rich, call her she’ll give you the money.’ Yeah, ok. So needless to say, when she would call I would not have the money, so I didn’t love her etc. Just as what he wanted her to think. Sure having to pay child support and have 3 full time jobs just to support myself was hard enough but it also took the pain away of missing her and most of all, her not knowing me as well as me not knowing her. Each time I have spoken to her it is all good for a few days, then low and behold it has to deal with money. Trust me when I say this, that I have given her plenty of money, but her dad has explained and imprinted in her mind that I am her go to piggy bank. Of course when she was young, I would purchase stuff out of guilt. But then it became known to me of what she was doing to me. Her mental and verbal abuse she has learned from her father was now instilled in her. I tried to get custody of her numerous times, but her father would manipulate the situation and make me the bad person of whom she does not want to live with. Now that it has been nearly 20 years, I still sorrow for her loss, but have learned that life must go on. I have never thought of myself but a failure which is what my ex wanted. But my Husband of 18 years, encourages me. With that being said, I am now a full time student in college going for my psychology degree to become a counselor to help people with similar situations that I have been. I know there are lots of people who has not had school or increased their education and counsel, but I want my knowledge and past to reflect that Life does go on. Sometimes it is painful, but like I have been told by my husband’s aunt… this too shall pass.
My heart goes out to you Colleen. What a story. I feel for your situation. What I love most about this though is your attitude. I think it is absolutely amazing that you have gone back to school to be able to help others deal with similar situations. A lot of people would just bury things and run away. I know that being with your daughter would mean the world to you and you know what, she may still come around as she gets older. Age does things to people’s appreciation for those in their lives. This too will pass and you will shine bright in the future by bringing that comfort to others. Cheers to you.
Thank you Miss T. I appreciate it. I like people to know that even in the worst situations, there is always a brighter side. It may take time, but God give you strength for one to get through the hurt and loss, just as loosing a loved one by death. It hurts but you will never forget their memories. Mine may be when she was young, but I will have those memories a life time and no one, not even my ex can take those from me.
Exactly and don’t ever forget that. You have those memories.
I totally agree that failure makes you stronger, that is if you can get back on that horse you just fell off. Failure is part of life and it just means that one thing didn’t work so better try another way to succeed. Great post!
Exactly, failure is something we all experience. However, the most important thing is to ensure it is used as a learning tool and not merely believed to be a stepping stone to success. In as much as we learn from our mistakes, then we will keep growing.
You have to fail, sometimes often, before you learn to succeed.
Great post and will include in my next roundup.
Although I tend to disagree with the advice to fail but sometimes it is true especially in business. You just have to start something – and sometimes it is through trial and error – to see what works. It could be after you have failed you will then be able to discern what works.
Just stumbled onto your post this morning, and wanted to say thank you! I have never quite studied the idea of failure in depth like this, but am seeing more and more the merits of at least trying. From this perspective, our past mistakes become less haunting monsters of stupidity and more teachers of a better way!
On another note, I look at the “everyone wins” mentality that a new generation is being raised with and wonder if we are taking away their ability to learn and grow and persevere with every participation ribbon.
It’s funny…right after college I had the mindset that I needed to succeed. In looking back, I realized I was only looking to succeed to obtain the approval of others. Once i changed that mentality, I became the master of my destiny!
Probably…my favorite role model is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has a well known speech encompassing his six rules for success. One of the rules is “Don’t Be Afraid to Fail”. He pushes the notion that you can’t always win but you can’t be afraid of making decisions. You have to keep pushing and pushing because you have a vision. So as a result, failure becomes nothing more than a lesson learned along your way to achieve your vision.
Failure is one of life’s most fantastic teachers. I feel that if you are not failing, then you are not trying hard enough. If you constantly push your limits, you will of course stumble. But that is only as a result of pushing your limits. If you push your limits constantly throughout your life…you will be rewarded.
When it comes to money and personal finance, I relate to his speech quite frequently.
I have so many incidents in my life to prove this sentence. everything does happens for a reason. Thank you so much for this post it is very positive.
very positive post