Why Failure is Important
Updated: May 26
“You must fail in order to succeed.” This quote is popular for a reason - It’s true.
Oprah was fired from one of her first jobs in TV.
JK Rowling pitched Harry Potter to twelve publishers who rejected her.
Walt Disney was let go because he “lacked creativity”.
No label would sign Jay-Z.
Companies have started out of garages.
There are CEO’s who attempted suicide before starting their multi-million dollar business.
People who used to live on the streets are huge stars now.
The point is, it doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed. You get another chance, every single day, to do better than the day before.
But why is failure actually important?
I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe you can’t find the reason in the midst of failure, but I guarantee you that something positive comes out of it every time.
We make choices that lead to experiences, and we don’t know what life would be like without those experiences. So, maybe you’ll never notice what positive came out of a failure - but maybe, without you realizing it, that thing brought you to know someone that you love. Maybe it somehow saved your life. Maybe it allowed you to come up with an idea or opened another opportunity that wouldn’t have originally happened. But I promise you one thing: if you aren’t actively searching for the positives that came from negative experiences, you’ll never see them.
But let’s talk specifics..
One closed door can open another. Oprah, Walt Disney, Jay-Z and everyone else I mentioned.. They went through the same thing. They were fired or told no. That didn’t stop them, and it doesn’t have to stop you either.
It teaches you lessons. I’m going to refer to this experience for the rest of the examples - but I was really upset over the last week because I kept getting these terrible cramps when I ran. I finally decided to try out different things. I tried to drink more or less water, eat more or less, go at different times during the day, try different temperatures, but nothing was working. Well, I finally found out that none of those things were the problem - I was simply just running too fast. Now that I’ve learned that, I know to keep a certain pace and I won’t get the cramps anymore.
Failure makes us stronger and more resilient, we realize what we're capable of, and it builds our character. Let me tell you, when I started getting cramps every time I ran - I was livid. I’d been running for months! I was upset and confused as to why I was taken back. But, that anger turned into the strength and fuel that pushed me on to figure out why I was having the problem, and then overcome it. It reinforced my commitment to my goals and made me try harder every single time I got out there.
It shows us what we truly care about. Not being able to consistently run a mile was tough - and it brought me back to where I started. It reminded me of how important this goal has been from the beginning. Running is one of the few things that is keeping me in a routine during this quarantine - so this situation reminded me how important it was to keep going and pushing through, no matter how many times I’d failed.
It allows us to teach and help others. Now, if I ever know someone having the same problem, running with cramps, I can help them. Their circumstances/reasons may be a little different, but I can still walk them through the process and help them eliminate all of the possibilities it may be for them.
It allows us to have more empathy and understanding. Now, if I see someone having to slow down after about 5 minutes of running, I’m going to understand. I’m going to know the same pain that they’re going through, instead of questioning if they truly need a breather or if they just want to slow down.
It allows us to stop fearing failure. So, I couldn’t run a continuous mile. Was that the end of the world? No. It sucked considering that wasn’t the case before, but worse things could have happened.
Sometimes failure is embarrassing, saddening, or discouraging. But I promise, worse things can happen than failure. Just remember, failure is only as bad as you allow it to be. If you decide to see it in a positive light, get back up, and try again.. It may be the best thing that ever happens to you.