Why Failure is the Key to Success

Posted on 2018-07-31 By Joanna

Check out the original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plQlALxKYDw

I know, failing sucks. My whole life is synonymous with failure, so trust me on being an expert on failing. It will make you temporarily bitter, angry, and disappointed. You've put so much work into doing and creating something, but the reality basically tells you 'No'. There is, however, a quite valuable opportunity lying just underneath that pile of shattered dreams and discomfort.

Imagine publishing a book that nobody wants to buy, or opening a shop that nobody wants to visit. As you search for the explanation of the negative outcomes of your actions, it's quite easy to conclude that you are not good enough, you are not competent enough, or that you can never do anything right. Soon after that, you conclude that it's just best to quit and forget about the whole embarrassing mistake once and for all. Wrong. Although it all might sound quite logical, logic itself does not guarantee that you are right.

When you are focused on your goal, it's quite natural to develop a tunnel vision – a very selective focus on a fragment of reality relevant to your goal. Doing so helps you to remain focused on what's important to you, as well as improves your chances of investing large quantities of your energy into that specific goal. This attitude, however, works only up to a certain point – failure. And believe me, you will fail eventually. Can you at least do it with some grace?

The moment you fail, you are being pulled out of your tunnel vision and at that point, you become more equipped to see the bigger picture. Learning what doesn't work is far more valuable than not knowing anything at all, obviously. All feelings accompanying failure are only an unfortunate residue of your ideas and enthusiasm being brutally crushed by the inevitable facts and the reality.

Do you remember when you were learning how to to walk? I bet it hurt when you've fallen down. But imagine if you didn't fall – how else could you learn how to walk? You wouldn't. You would keep walking around awkwardly, lacking in grace and skill, and unable to see your mistakes which could be improved if you only dared to step back and see the bigger picture – that is, if you failed and fallen down.

Failing enables you to see your mistakes and understand what you've been doing wrong. This wouldn't be so easy to see if you remained focused on your goal – even if you do account for errors and possible difficulties, running simulations in your head will never equal concrete facts and experience. There are too many unforeseen difficulties and variables for your little brain to compute.

Equally, when striving towards your goal whilst directing a big chunk of your attention onto avoidance of failure will introduce doubt, insecurity, and aversion to risk taking. The moment you divide your focus into success and failure, you won't be able to offer as much of your energy and attention into the goal that you want to reach. Each decision will become difficult to make as you will not only consider the potential gain, but also a loss. This attitude will not get you far because essentially, making any sort of decision equals taking a risk. It's up to you how much risk you want to take, but remember that big decisions equal big risk, and small decisions equal small risk.

Now, I don't want to sound as if I'm glorying failure or encourage you to fail. What I'm trying to point out is that if you want to succeed in anything at all, you have to be comfortable with failure, because guess what – you will fail, regardless how much work you put into your goal. The whole point of achieving anything is to learn from your mistakes, develop your understanding, stand up again and keep learning how to walk.

Although failure will pull you out of your tunnel vision and redefine your perspective and understanding, staying focused on your goal whilst withstanding more and more challenging failures and learning from your mistakes is the only path to success.