One of the biggest disappointments in life is how human beings have associated negativity and punishment with the word ‘failure’. We are constantly contradicting ourselves by teaching our youth that failing in the classroom should be rewarded with punishment and anger. From an early age, we are taught to fear failure. In fact, more people possess a fear of failure than a fear of death. To be fair, we associate failure with negativity and pass that down because we want to see our children and students succeed. However, as any life or success coach will tell you, success does not come with failure. The only time the word ‘failure’ should be considered a bad word is when you give up or quit after you experience it. One of the most important lessons we get from failure is how to recover from it. You can chalk it up as a loss, or you can get back on your feet because you now know what doesn’t work. You can continue on knowing you have eliminated a path you know won’t get you to where you want to be. Failure is simply trial-and-error. You will never hear success stories that do not include multiple tales of failure. Even history has shown that the most successful exploits frequently came on the back of failure. Just take a look at the success story 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 ripe age of 62. One of the greatest success stories we have is that of Albert Einstein. He didn’t even speak until he was four years old, and couldn’t read until he was seven. His parents thought he was average at best. He was expelled from school and his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrip forever in foolish dreams.” Failure is a beautiful thing. You will learn more from your failures than you will ever learn sitting in a classroom reading a text book. Instead of associating failure with fear and punishment, lets show future generations that unless you don’t put in the effort, failures are the most important chapter in their success stories. Challenge yourself and the people around you to teach what failure truly means:
1. Failure means you are courageous.
Even though you didn’t get the results you wanted, at least you were trying to do something. You were following your dreams and being ambitious. So many people let the fear of failure prevent them from reaching for their dreams. In fact, most people are scared of failure that they don’t even make an attempt. They decide it’s easier to play it safe. Now instead of following their dreams, they get hired to help somebody else accomplish theirs. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is feeling the fear and taking action anyway. Knowing that you’re going to fail and still facing head it on is the ultimate sign of courage and passion.
2. Failure will help you grow as a person.
When your hard work doesn’t off in the way you had hoped, you have to reach deep inside to find the strength to try again. To solve the problem and make sure you get the result you want, you need to expand yourself and so you grow. Failure teaches you to live outside of 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.
3. Failure makes you stronger… if you let it.
Failure means you didn’t get the result you wanted as soon as you had hoped. At this point, there are two choices you can make. When first hit with it, you probably feel discouraged and frustrated. You can let it make you weaker and throw away everything you’ve worked for, or you can let it make you stronger and become more focused on a successful outcome next time. This is the turning point in what could be your success story or story about how you gave up because you were scared.
4. Failure can be your favorite teacher. If anyone knew how important failure was, it was Thomas Edison. Think about how different the world would be had Edison given up when trying to create a working light bulb. Instead, he took each failure as a lesson and used them to build the design that would forever change the world we live in. Failure to get the results you wanted is not a negative thing; it is simply an opportunity to try a different method. All of the success stories you read will have multiple things in common, but none more important than your metaphorical teacher.
5. Failure will 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 gives you the best chance of success.
Research out of prominent 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. Very few people have a success story that is short. Educating yourself on the 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 it as another attempt to reach your goals. 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. Just because there are a lot of stairs doesn’t mean you can’t climb it.
To write your own success story, you must first have a dream. Maybe you dream about how to easily make a lot of money, or how to find infinite happiness. Regardless of what your dream is, you should expect to encounter failure. What will separate you from 99% of people is you will embrace it and look forward to what it can teach you.
7. Failure provides you with answers.
If you don’t try and fail, you will never know if your idea or method is going to work. You will spend time worrying that you don’t have any of the answers; you wonder whether it would have even worked at all. The pain of regret is far worse than the pain of failure. It’s much better to live a life full of “too bad’s” than a life full of “what if”s”. When you fail, you can start again; with regret, you will never know.