Who likes to fail?
That’s what I thought.
For most of us failure’s shameful, embarrassing, and even scary. Maybe it means you don’t have what it takes. Maybe this dream isn’t meant to be. What if everyone’s laughing or judging?
But if you ask the very successful, they’ll tell you a different story. They’ll tell you failure’s not only good, but necessary for these 6 reasons…
Failure means you’re trying—Congratulations. There’s no succeeding without getting off your bottom and throwing your hat in the ring. If you’re starting to fail, it means you’ve begun the journey. You’re making concerted efforts to get somewhere or learn a skill or achieve something.
Okay, the road may be bumpy and full of potholes, but you’re taking the steps (and making the mistakes) necessary to get to that destination. If you stop, its true you won’t fail anymore. But you also won’t succeed.
Failure brings you closer to your goal– Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. You’ve started that trek, but it’s harder than you thought or scarier. Maybe it’s taking too long.
Remember, every step, no matter how hard and frustrating, brings you closer. Keep walking. Stay the course. With each hardship you overcome, you’re inching your way toward that vision. You’re learning. You’re growing. You’re developing that important thick hide which leads me to…
Failure toughens you up — Ever met a successful person who was a wussy? Me neither. It doesn’t mean they’re hard, cynical people. But along the way, they adapted resiliency. They kept going despite terrible odds or sometimes crushing defeat. They adapted. They rebounded. They got back on that horse. They strengthened the muscles needed to go on.
Failure teaches you this. In fact, success is impossible without toughness. And if you don’t have it to begin with, believe me, failure will help you develop it.
Failure teaches you important life lessons— Alas, for most of us, there’s no other way to learn than making mistakes. How else do we know what to do except for trying? But even mistakes shouldn’t be seen as failures. They’re lessons. They’re steppingstones. They’re guideposts.
Mistakes mean you’re paying your dues. If you read the story of most (if not all) successful people, it wasn’t an easy glide to the home plate of victory. It was a long, arduous journey pitted with frustration and sometimes pain. But they learned and kept going. And in the end, they reaped the rewards.
Failure is better than regret – The world is littered with people who gave up. And many feel a certain ache because of it. Maybe things got too hard. Or it took too long. Maybe someone said something snarky they took to heart.
There are always a million reasons to quit. But there’s usually only one reason to go on. And it’s an important one. You’ll have a happier, more fulfilled life if you keep trying, even when it’s hard. Instead of that ache, you’ll feel a sense of pride.
Failure teaches you what you love – What are you willing to go through for your dream? I learned this hard lesson myself with writing. Let’s face it, for every drop of encouragement, there’s an ocean of discouragement. And some people decide it’s not worth the effort. And I get that.
But then there are the masochistic crazies (like myself) who decide, yup, this hurts so good. I’m going to keep going despite the torturous frustration at times. It wasn’t till I got thrown off that horse again and again that I realized I’m here for the long haul. Writing Gods, I said, you might as well get used to me. I’m not going anywhere. I climbed back on.
Is that how you feel about your dream? Will you do whatever it takes to achieve it? Then you’ve been given a gift. You’ve been taught what you love. And not everyone has that.
In the end, failure’s not the opposite of success. Failure’s the bridge. Failure’s the initiation rite, those necessary steps you must take, no matter how hard, no matter how tenuous.
Next time you’re thrown off that horse do the following. Stand up. Brush yourself off. Check for broken bones.
Then thank failure for teaching you to be tough and resilient. Thank failure for guiding you to your destiny. Thank failure for giving you that steely determination needed to keep going.
Are you ready?
Good. Climb back on and start heading for that dream.
Laurie Stone is a blogger, writer of fiction, and reporter. Her essays have appeared in the Connecticut Post, Connecticut Kids Magazine and In The Know Traveler Website, among many others. Laurie blogs about midlife, family, and the ups and downs that come with growing up and growing older.