Would you ever go out of your way to choose failure? No of course not, no one wants to fail. Failing feels bad and can make us doubt ourselves and what we’re capable of. No one wants to fail, but everyone does fail sometimes. Counter intuitive as it may seem people who have great success actually fail a lot, because it’s impossible to get to the top all in one go.
Not wanting to fail doesn’t mean we should fear failure or try to avoid it because once we do either of those things we create limits for ourselves. In an attempt to avoid failure we won’t strive as high as we want to, in a misguided belief that it’s better to be a success in a so-so playing field than a failure among the stars. But if you don’t strive for the best you can never know what your best can be.
Great benefit of failure
It’s all a matter of perception. Instead of thinking of failure as an end result, or a lack of success we need to reframe it as another stepping stone on the way to success. A pit stop for learning. A chance to re-group and do better. Nothing teaches us how to do something as well as doing it wrong, and learning from that. A failure means our next attempt will be stronger, more on point, better planned. If that attempt fails, it’s an opportunity to try again, with increased knowledge and skill.
Keep your attitude
A failure can only bring you down if you let it. You are the one in charge of your feelings and your perceptions. You can take the failure for what it is, an opportunity, or you can label it as an indication that you are not good enough and you should just stop trying right now and never bother trying anything again.
If you let it, failure will distort your perceptions about your abilities and your chances for success. Check out these 10 surprising facts about failure from Psychology Today.
In the words of Sun Tzu, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” Believe in your strengths and know that failure in no way diminishes your chances for success. Instead, see failure for what it is. An opportunity for learning and growth.
Failure keeps you sharp and strong
When a person succeeds immediately that success is easy to take for granted. That successful-off-the-bat person may only give 80% going forward because they have a sense of entitlement. When something comes easily it’s simply not perceived as highly as something that took more work, or struggle.
On the flip side, when someone fails once or twice or ten times on the way to success, that success, once reached is all the sweeter. Because that success means more, the person does more to protect it. They work harder going forward, they appreciate everyone that helped them along the way even more. They’re more apt to help the next person in line behind them with their struggles.
Failure opens your eyes to other possibilities
Aside from providing learning opportunities, failure also forces us to look at alternatives we may not have otherwise considered. If plan A doesn’t work but we’re serious about our success, then we’ll often start looking for other ways to achieve our end goal. Oftentimes those other ways turn out to be better or more efficient than our first choice, and we never would have come to them without that failure pushing us forward.
In the article, Lessons on Success: 3 Reasons Why Failing is Good Monster.com sums it up this way. “Success is good but failure is better.”
On the way to the monumental success she’s famous, JK Rowling describes herself as having failed to an epic degree. She says failure helps strip away the inessential and creates determination. She sums it up her feelings about failure this way: “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”