Do you remember, back in school, we were told at least once that getting an ‘F’ for ‘failed’ or ‘failure’ is a bad thing, or unacceptable, even? Seeing a giant ‘F’ seemed like an unrecoverable offense that tainted not only our grades but our self-worth and confidence. “Am I not doing enough?” “Is there something wrong with me?” “What’s the point of all this if I’m failing?” Such words ring in our heads in the face of failure, and sometimes, they become so loud that we ignore everything else around us and within us.
We tend to carry this fear of failure beyond the constraints of our classrooms and onto the “real world.” We’re afraid of failing at job interviews. We’re afraid of failing at work. We’re afraid of failing in our careers. We sometimes think that failing at one thing means being a capital F for Failure. But here’s the thing—failure is inevitable, and believe it or not, it is just as important as your wins and successes.
Why, you asked?
Failure is a part of learning.
Nobody masters a skill overnight. To get better at something, everyone goes through a learning process. We make mistakes. We learn from them. We figure out how to do it right. Sometimes, it only takes one error to accomplish our goal; other times, it takes two, three, or more, and that’s okay.
Our experiences might be painful, but they are experiences built on thousands of tiny failures and small wins—all of which are necessary to improve and achieve greater victories. As long as you keep learning, persisting, and finding new ways to achieve your objective, there will always be value in all your failures.
Failure opens different perspectives.
We tend to associate failure with defeat, like a glaring “GAME OVER” flashing in front of our eyes whenever things don’t work out. However, there isn’t only one way to do something. Sometimes, it takes failing on that first path to realize it isn’t the right road for us. And that realization pushes us to seek a different path—to go out of our comfort zone and make more significant leaps in life.
Harness the frustration your mistakes made you feel. Use that to your advantage to try things you’ve never thought of doing. Who knows? You may be able to go to places you’ve never been before.
Failure builds character.
There may be people who innately have their grits and guts in them. However, some have learned to develop their inner strength after hundreds or thousands of mistakes and failures. Sure, it may bite the first time, but the sting will gradually hurt less and less after several times.
Now, the question is, will you let your failures tear you down? Or will you use them for cultivating a resolutely positive mindset?
Failure helps us appreciate our success.
As Sigmund Freud once said, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” After all, how can you appreciate the highs if you haven’t been to the lows? How would you know what success is if you haven’t experienced failure?
At some point, most of us reach a place where we’re afraid to make mistakes—where we avoid failure or any uncertain situation just to keep ourselves from potentially failing. However, what we don’t realize is this fear confines us. It locks us in a chain that prevents us from moving forward—or anywhere at all.
As Mark Manson wrote in his book, “We can truly be successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.”
So, are you going to stay comfortable not trying but look back years or months later with regret saying, “I should’ve just gone for it,” or are you going to stare at fear right in the face and say, “At least I tried?”
The choice is yours.