“Failure” is a very bad word in our society. From a very young age, we are taught that we need to make the “right” decisions, get “good grades,” and do things “correctly” to be successful. Although all of these things can most certainly help us towards success, failure, too, can be highly instrumental in our ability to succeed. As Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.“
Looking back in time, we’d be hard pressed to find a successful person who hasn’t failed at least once throughout their careers. Some of the most successful individuals throughout history have failed, including Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Jerry Seinfeld, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, Elvis Presley, and the list goes on.
So much time and energy is spent on how and what we need to do right, that failure and the benefits it provides are often neglected. Personally, I have failed numerous times. Yet, each and every time has proven to push me towards greater success. Although it may not always be obvious at the time, when we fail, we benefit in the following ways:
- We Become Smarter: Through failure, we learn valuable lessons that provide us with insights and experience so that we can avoid making the same mistakes—or worse, bigger mistakes—down the line.
- We Become Less Fearful: When we fail and can recover, we learn to fear failure less and can see that risk taking isn’t so scary. We become less sensitive to the impact of failing so that if it happens, the fall doesn’t feel as hard, making it easier to get back up and try again.
- We Become More Likely to Succeed: Failure challenges us. It teaches us that if something doesn’t work, we need to try harder or try something different. It pushes us beyond our comfort zone and asks that we put more of ourselves into the task or goal. We become stronger, enabling us to persist through the ups and downs of the process. It helps us truly reach our full potential.
- We Become More Appreciative: If everything we wanted, every success we achieved came easily, it wouldn’t be worth having. Or at the very least, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much. When we have to work for our achievements and successes, however, they seem much sweeter and much more special.
- We Become More Confident: When we have to work hard and overcome challenges, we become more confident in our ability to succeed. We realize that even through the most difficult of times, we can persevere and inevitably accomplish what we set out to. This gives us confidence to take on future challenges.
As discouraging as failure might feel, our attitudes towards failure is what will push us towards greater success. If you are working towards a goal, or trying to change something in your life, expect a bit of failure along the way. Embrace your failure as part of the process, and learn from it. This makes the actual act of failing much less painful or discouraging.
Have you failed? How did it help you? Did it push you to greater success?
Looking to change or reinvent an aspect of your life? Want greater happiness and fulfillment? A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life (January 2, 2013) is a smart, practical approach to reinventing any aspect of your life. Whether you want to start eating healthy, switch careers, or improve a relationship, A Whole New You will inspire you to take control of your life and to live at your very best.