Note: This is a guest post from Fred Tracy of FredTracy.com
If you’re like most people, you probably have a bad relationship with failure. You see it as an ending, as proof that your plan didn’t succeed or your ideas weren’t good enough. The truth is, failure happens to everyone. The only thing that separates people who succeed from those who don’t is a proper understanding of the power of failure. Success requires that you learn from mistakes and missteps along the way rather than falling into despair and giving up.
Pay attention to the information here, especially if you’re at a place where failure isn’t your friend, and you will find that opportunity lies in every defeat. Here are 3 reasons why failure is the key to success.
1. Failure is a Function of Trying
The best way to measure your progress at something is the number of setbacks and “failures” you’ve had. If you haven’t failed yet, chances are you aren’t trying very hard. Failure is the blacksmith’s hammer that tempers the sword of success. If you want to get really good at something, you have to fail at least a few times.
If you look at all the great men and women throughout history, you’ll notice that they had one main thing in common. They failed, and they failed often. Think of Thomas Edison. How many times did he fail to find the right filament for his light bulb? There are various estimates, but they all range in the ballpark of a whole heck of a lot. Henry Ford knew of failure intimately. So much so that he is quoted for saying the following: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
Clearly, failure represents opportunity and growth, not deficit and loss.
2. Success Lies in Seeing Failure as a Tool
Just as all the greats have something in common, so too do the true “failures” of life: their inability to use failure as a tool. When you feel that sinking, desperate sensation known as failure and you take it to heart, you diminish yourself. You give your power away to an external event. Success is about learning how to recognize why you failed, and how you’re going to compensate for it.
I find it helpful to ask myself the following questions upon failures, big and small.
- What brought about the failure?
- How much of it is in my realm of influence?
- How can I use my influence to turn failure into success?
- What steps do I need to go through to try again?
- What can I do every day to ensure that my next try is done more intelligently?
You may want to get out a piece of paper and go through that list. Be completely open and honest as you ask yourself each question. Analyze your answers carefully and implement them – don’t procrastinate! Remember, failure is an opportunity, not a burden. Be grateful for a chance to grow.
3. Failure Builds Character
If you look at the events leading up to any significant victory, you’ll often discover failure as the biggest motivator. Just as the Colorado River created the Grand Canyon over a period of millions of years, success can also come in small chunks, and they’re part of any winning strategy. On the other hand, waiting years upon years for something to happen isn’t effective when you can take action now.
So what do you need to consistently test yourself and learn from failed attempts? Character.
Success occurs in leaps and bounds for people who are ready for it. To genuinely create value, day in and day out, requires determination, purpose, and most of all, that subtle yet all-important trait known as character. Failure is a far better character builder than any affirmation or fleeting goal. While each success will propel you by a small amount, failure will forge your career – and your personality – like nothing else will. It’s the difference between a natural lake being formed over thousands of years and a man-made lake coming into fruition in under a year.
Success takes willpower, intelligence, determination, and grit. But more than anything else, it requires failure. Use this is an opportunity to reassess your relationship to the true key to success that so many people fear.
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Fred Tracy runs a personal development website where he writes about his unique experiences and insights into growing yourself. He writes in a humorous, direct style, and aims at entertaining his readers as much as helping them better themselves.
Photo by Sister72
Many successful people have risen from their failures. They use their failures as stepping-stones as the successes. For some people, failure acts as a motivation, for others, it strengthens their emotional health. As for me, I use failures as a guide. I use failure to remind myself not to make the same mistakes again and to improve from the mistakes I made.
Being able to learn from the mistakes one have made is one step closer to success. In my opinion, I learn best from failures. For instance, I have been baking since I entered secondary three. At the beginning, I would bake for people around me to try and taste my products. The comments I received were not supportive and encouraging as my products might not taste right or it may be too dry. To share my frustrations and feelings on baking, I started to blog. I shared my thoughts and ideas on the Internet as a way to express myself during baking. The feedback I got from people abroad is really helpful and incredible. I noted their way of baking and applied it to my baking. It encouraged me and I was able to bake better. Since then, I have improved and picked myself up from the failures I made back then and slowly reaching the route to success.
Failures can be daunting and discouraging at times, however it also can make your emotional well being stronger. Most of the successful people I come across are resilient, confident and positive. Along the way to their success, there are nasty people who would throw harsh comments and awful words at them, when they fail. These people not only reacted to such situations in a calm way, they also persevered and gained confidence. This would train one mental health, as one might not be able to take the harsh critics and nasty words. It would allow one to anticipate certain things, such as people with a foul mouth, and minimize the mistakes one might make in the future. For example, When readers of my blog throw nasty comments, I would be affected by their words, however I chose not to let it affect me deeply as it is pointless to be upset with someone behind a computer screen that I do not know. I would try to use the bad comments to improve on my skills and produce something greater and be successful.
Some people use failures as a motivation. They are aware of their faults and they chose to work on it, venture out to find out more about their fault and develop something better. Without failure, one is restricted to the limited knowledge they own as one would not venture out to search for further information on how to improve or thrive. Like myself, I had times when my cakes or muffins were dry and unpalatable. It was disappointing, but I would ask Google or people around me for solution. I got my answers and tried again. I was glad that the final product was acceptable and I was contented with myself for trying again and asking for help. Through that, I learnt more ways and solution to expand my baking.
In spite of the numerous success stories from failure, some people use failure as an excuse to stop trying. They stop trying once they failed. I have friends who use failure as an excuse to stop trying. With one setback, they would immediately stop trying. No matter how much I encourage them to try again, they would just say ‘No’. It might be their lack of confidence or fear of failing, to them, failing is not the most important ingredient for success.
All in all, people have their own ways to success. It might be solely their own effort to success or from the help of their family and friends. For me, I strongly believe that to the route to success, one has to fail and pick themselves up as the experience and knowledge one would gather when they fail would prepare one mentally when they are successful.So, Hi! Well, I do not know how to start but I feel extremely awful for not posting anything for about 3 weeks now.. So I took a little break from all the revision I was doing to post a little something that I wrote during this 3 weeks. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did! And probably the next post I am going to do is about the joyous occasion of ending my examinations… So.. Till next time.