It’s Only Failure If You Don’t Learn Something


In society, we tend to focus more on the celebrations than the disappointments. At the end of each year, websites and television shows recap all the highs and milestones accomplished throughout the months; they praise Super Bowl winners and Billboard chart-toppers. But that’s often all we see. No emphasis on an actor’s history of being passed over again and again, before finally landing that life-changing role.

No highlights from an athlete who spent the year rehabbing and killing herself in the gym, just for a second chance at the sport she loves. Social media plants these celebrations in front of us every day, but lost amongst the winners and success are the stories of how they got to be where they are today.

Failure is the foundation of success

Final products don’t just happen. They are the result of an ongoing process, much of which is hard to see. Colin Powell said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” While striving to succeed, it’s important to prepare and work hard, but failure is the most important component of the three. Failures are the foundation that future successes are built on.

We cannot grow if we do not learn, and our own short-comings can be the best teachers. But failing to recognize this is can be dangerous. Mistakes happen but are only detrimental if we do not learn from them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, and expecting a different result. Learn from past decisions, change routine accordingly, and repeat.

Learn from your mistakes and focus on the good

Failures can also range in size, but not importance. Whether you flopped in an interview for your dream job or pursued your own business that went bankrupt, these experiences give you the knowledge and opportunity to improve. Failing can feel like the end of the line, but it doesn’t have to be. If you view your journey towards an end goal as a straight line from point-A to point-B, it’s time to reimagine this.

You need to instead focus on the process of becoming greater and on continuous improvement. In a world so engulfed in trying to save time, whether that be free two-day shipping or mobile food delivery, this sounds impossible. We crave instant gratification, and the thought of a slow, methodical grind (often filled with failures) is daunting. But as Eric Thomas says, “Fall in love with the process and the results will follow.

Next time you make a mistake, view it not as a failure, but as the first stepping-stone towards the results you crave.