Top 10 Things Failure Teaches You

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When I was 7 years old, our class was made to memorize a poem called “Don’t Quit”. Initially, it was words on a paper I was essentially mugging up for the sake of a good poetry recitation in front of an entire class so I could get in my teacher’s good books and not embarrass myself in front of my classmates.

A couple years later, they began to exude more meaning, truth and emotion in them than seeming as blatant as just words on a paper. “Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tins the clouds of doubt” and “You never know how close you are, you may be near but it seems so far” spoke to me when I faced internal turmoil and disturbance over events at the time that I considered an early taste of failure.

We don’t realize it the time that our heads are buried in our hands, crying our heart out over the crux of the situation: we let people down but most of all, we let ourselves down. Did we really let ourselves down or did we potentially trigger an inner drive and determination that will help us rise from the ashes, stronger and taller than we ever were before?

Here are the top 10 advantages of failure and how it isn’t as bad as we make it to be:


#10: Failure teaches resilience

Essentially, the “put on your big boy pants and brush it off” attitude but it’s so much more complicated than that. Resilience takes an enormous amount of inner willpower. It takes combatting your internal demons, stowing away what happened that you attribute to and attach to your personality instead of the circumstances to finally tip back to a normal, guilt-free life.

Basking in guilt will only further lower your self-esteem and forces you to live in the past. If you don’t fight your own demons and get back up on your feet, who will?

Resilience is the art of making peace with the past and moving forward. People that are resilient are less prone to depression and anxiety because they consider failure a part and parcel of the human experience that must be dealt with and on dwelled on.


#9: Failure is a stepping stone to success

As Edison famously said when he failed some 900 times to make a lightbulb that worked, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 that won’t work”. How about we look at failure from the angle of it being a sequence, a path to the destination of success rather than an obstacle in the way?

Several famous scholars and renowned scientists have attributed their final success to their bouts of failure and dissatisfaction along the way. Having your heads in the cloud only convinces yourself you have attained perfection, disabling your ability to critique and reflect within yourself about making changes. If you’re ready for failure, success is ready for you.


#8: Failure makes your success sweeter

What’s better than expected success than unexpected success? Picture this: You try hard but you aren’t achieving the desired result. You aren’t getting that promotion you strived for, you aren’t getting your child to speak his first words, you aren’t able to lose those 5kgs you had promised yourself you would, you aren’t getting that grade in class you wanted.

Instead of giving up and accepting it will never happen, will trying harder kill you? Keeping your chin up and sporting a positive attitude will push you to goals you didn’t think you could obtain and you will surprise yourself with the results.

Finally, when you get what you want, you realize the victory of obtaining your success wouldn’t have been as joyous without the dozen barricades in the way. You realize you’ve now emerged more confident of your abilities than you ever would have.


#7: The fear of failure overpowers failure itself

You realize the fear of pain outweighs the actual pain because you’re not scared of the process, you’re scared of the aftermath. What good is it if you’ve accepted and resigned to your fate instead of paving your own way to your success?

If you’re fearing embarrassment, realize that this is a temporary phase and the embarrassment is worth it in the long run. What you will regret more is not trying in the first place.


#6: We get a powerful reality check

Let’s face it, failure does put us in our places. We realize we aren’t king of the world, top of the hierarchy and we are not indispensable because in the end, everything good or bad that happens changes. We live in a dynamic world and the fairytale idea that we feed ourselves that we are the best diminishes it strikes us that there are other people better than the game that we are.

It teaches us how everything, every emotion in the world is temporary.


#5: Neither success nor failure are worth dwelling onĀ 

Neither of them should make or break us, or define us in the long run. When we’ve succeeded, we must pat ourselves on the back for the achievement and then move on. Likewise with failure, there need not be any bitterness or resentment in our minds that will poison us.

Every bout of luck or poor fate is designated to change over time, so dwelling on either is pointless.


#4: Failure has a fickle time horizon

Moping about failing that Physics test you’re going to have to tell your disappointed parents about? Yes, they will be disappointed. Yes, chances are you might get grounded. But ask yourself if failing this Physics test will even matter 10 years down the line.

Chances are you won’t even remember it. Chances are you will even laugh about how silly you were, crying about something so inessential when you will have bigger problems on your plate then. Consider every failure in retrospect: are you letting it weigh you down more than you should be?


#3: Failure is relativeĀ 

Sure that Physics test brought your overall percentage down and your friends did better than you did. Understand that the world is to complex and vast to pay any heed to your problems, however big or small. There are people less fortunate that wish you could even swap your insignificant problems with theirs.

There are people that find it hard scouting for food, water, adequate shelter and people who do not know their loved ones will make it out of the hospital safe and sound tomorrow. What are your sorrows compared to theirs? You realize you could always be better, but then you could always be worse off too.


#2: You emerge more prepared and determined

You’re more ready for the odds, you have braced yourself for the unexpected turns and you are willing to pitch your 100% in the task as compared to the 70% you put it the last time that resulted in failure.

Considering failure a learning experience is part of your growing experience. You will face different types and degrees of failure throughout your life, but using it as a tool to help improve your game is the right approach to it rather than moping about it.


#1: The universe does not owe you success and you feel more privileged

Once you realize you are not entitled to happiness or success, you find a drive that will push you forward more than you would have if you accepted a sealed, static fate.

You learn to count your blessings and be grateful for things that have happened in your life, as opposed to sulking about how they didn’t work out as per plan. Congratulations. At this point, you have mastered the art of tackling failure and your dreams, ambition and positive attitude are insurmountable.


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