What Failure Teaches Us About Success
Failure is an ugly word for many people, something to prevent at all costs and never admit. Everyday people leave opportunities on the table – they forgo deals, relationships and a host of other experiences because of the risks associated with its pursuit. The fear of failure has damaged more lives than the experience of failure ever could.
All this because failure’s bark can be scary. It portends the worst and casts doubts on our ability to handle what may come. In most cases, though, its bite is much less impressive. Additionally, the outcome of failure can be useful if we know how to take advantage of the opportunities.
Have you ever tried to learn a new skill? A new language, or instrument? Maybe a new sport?
You were bad at first, right? You couldn’t quite seem to remember the sentence structure of the language, or maybe you thought you’d never be able to get your right and left hands to work together, independently. Maybe perhaps, you couldn’t dribble a ball down the court to save your life.
Whatever the story – in the beginning, you sucked! But – if you ever developed proficiency that says one thing: you didn’t give up. You failed many times at the same thing, and you kept on failing until you succeeded at that very thing in which you had previously failed. And I know this not because I’m a mind reader but because this is how success always works. It’s one of the truest points about success – failure is part of the process.
Just let that sink in for a minute. Failure is inherent to success. If you avoid failure, you also avoid success.
We should welcome the opportunity to fail, and instead of fearing it, respect it and allow it to teach us timely lessons; lessons that are more important to our growth and success than any book we could read or advice we could receive. Instead of avoiding failure we should listen closely to it, respond quickly, and learn the lessons from it.
If we do and choose instead to change our perspective, to see failure as our best teacher instead of our worst enemy, it can become our ally. It can expose miscalculations, point out errs in judgments and show us what additional skills we need to succeed. Better than any mentor, failure knows what the problems are. It knows what’s holding us back and it red flags it every time. It’s up to us to acknowledge the signs and get to work looking for the appropriate solutions.
At times failure can seem harsh. It can feel final or insurmountable. What’s true about failure is that it not only serves as a teacher but also a gatekeeper. There are laws, or rules if you like, associated with success. We can’t access it without applying those laws effectively. If we try, failure holds us back. Luckily, it also leaves clues and sheds light on the whys. It’s up to us to listen, and learn, and try again.
And when we’ve learned the lessons, and failure is no longer needed, it will leave, but before it does, it will introduce us to the success we’ve worked so hard to meet.