Why You Need to Fail, in Order to Succeed
I think it goes without saying but we have all been around the block once or twice. We have known the feeling of utter defeat on something that we may have poured our very heart and soul into. In case you still don’t know what I’m talking about, then lucky you. However, I have a feeling that we all have failed at something at least once in our lives. Unfortunately to say, some more than others. Yet, if you’ve really stopped to think about it, failing is a vital part of life. I’m here to tell you why you should fail, even before you succeed. Can failure make you stronger? That’s what comes to mind after reading about many of the inspirational real life stories of great people found online.
You’ve probably seen the video that’s been floating around the internet for a while now with Will Smith. His video is all about why you should fail, I’ve only watched the first few moments of it. I think I remember him saying something around Fail First, Fail Often, and Fail Forward. Even though I’ve not continued watching after that, I completely agree with these three points. I won’t be able to tell you what he said, but I figure my own spin on these topics might help you out.
For those of you who don’t know, I am deathly afraid of failure. It is probably my biggest weakness, and is a fear I experience every day. So where as my advice may not seem the most helpful on this topic, I will try my best to learn these things along with you all.
Failing, rejection, being denied, none of these things are fun. Especially when humans are hardwired to seek out success for the chemical goodness that it lets loose in our brains. When we fail, it can feel catastrophic, exceptionally so for those with mental illness. So this step can seem extraordinarily hard for most of us. You have to fail first before you succeed. This may sound strange, because “why would I want to fail if I can succeed right off the bat?” The reason here is simple, failing helps fuel progress and staves off complacency. If you succeed every time you try, then it loses its magic, and you start to take it easy, not soon after I guarantee you’ll be slapped in the face with a big FAIL.
Failure is life’s greatest teacher, but it’s your job to learn from it. If you read the failure stories of great personalities like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey you will notice that these failures acted as a trampoline for their future success. When you start seeing failure as just another brick in your success foundation, failing doesn’t seem that bad. Treat each failure as a stepping stone towards your greatest successes. And you can also look at real life success stories from real life people and you will see the same thing. Failure always pushes us forward, even if we fear it.
This part is probably the least fun, out of all the torturous ways to fail, you’re gonna have to try them all. Failure is as previously stated, a great teacher. It will show you the things not to do if you want to succeed. Therefore, if you’re anything like me, you want the most information before making a life changing decision. The best way to gather than information is by eliminating the wrong ways to get what you want. It’ll be painful for sure, but as long as you learn from your mistakes, you hopefully won’t repeat them. This applies to all mental health as well, with therapies and medication just to name a few. So get out there, do whatever it is you do, fail at it, learn, try again and ultimately you will succeed. Perseverance is key my friends!
The concept here has 2 meanings for me. The first and foremost, is that when you fail, make sure that failure means progress. Often people will see failure as a step backwards, and have to “return to square one”. This is entirely not the case. Failure in this aspect should be returning to the drawing board to make changes and additions to your life strategy. Take the things that causes the failure, change or remove them, and try again. Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Apply this to failure, and you have a plan for success
The second meaning is a little more in between the lines. I see it as when you fail, take your experiences that you learned and pass them on. Let other people know what doesn’t work, that’s how we grow as a society. Of course, different people have different things that work for them, and different results; but the core stays the same. Just because you failed, doesn’t mean that others in your situation have to experience the same downfall.
A Few Encouraging Words for Failure
As I stated, I myself am not great when it comes to these “rules” of failure, because I try to avoid failure completely. However, I can acknowledge that this may be the exact reasons that I fail. If you’ve learned anything from this article though, it’s not about how hard life hits you, it’s about how hard you can get hit and stand back up (“borrowed” from a Rocky movie). I’m going to give you some encouraging words for failure: start seeing failure as the fuel you need to reach your destination. When you feel down about your failures just say “It’s ok. I’m just failing my way to success.” or “this too shall pass” or “success comes from failure”.
There are plenty of success to failure stories online and they’re just a click away so there’s no shortage of encouraging words for failure out there. Use them.
As always, we are a community dedicated to helping each other. If you see something I missed, make sure to let us all know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Unsplash: Zohre Nemati