By David Carpenter
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 a drip 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Related: Top 7 Reasons Why We Fail
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.