Failure Shapes Us in Ways That Success Never Will

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Article by: Mourine Odongo

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From a young age, humans are taught that failure is bad. You are ridiculed, scolded, and whipped for failing. As you grow, you increasingly dread mistakes or any circumstance that might remotely make you appear “stupid”.

With time, you find it easier to play safe.

You’d rather wallow in mediocrity than take a risk.

Many people are stuck in the same place they were ten years ago. You go to the same job that tears you up every time you think of reporting back the following day. You’ve shoved your talents in the background, and instead, you pursue some lame causes that you barely enjoy. Somewhere in the subconscious, you’ve convinced yourself that that’s life.

In the long run, you'll end up living a life that pales in comparison to the life you could have lived if only you dared to screw up. You’ll never explore your full potential.

Unpacking failure

Humans are imperfect. That shouldn’t be a big deal. It is part of what makes us who we are. However, the problem with failure is not the fact that you’ll inevitably fail but the feelings of unworthiness that you experience when you don’t succeed.

Partly this is because failure always has a negative connotation. You whine every time you make mistakes. You curse when failure is imminent. It’s almost impossible to see failure as an opportunity to learn.

This shouldn’t be the case. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve not worked hard enough. It doesn’t mean your dream is obsolete. Mistakes don’t make your ideas invalid.  It means you gave it your best, but your approach was wrong. It’s an indicator that there’s something you need to learn. There’s a different path you haven’t explored. Next time you know what’s not working, and you are one step closer to making your dream a reality.

If you fear failure, you may as well say bye-bye to your dreams. You will never make it. Important to note is that you can’t learn to walk without falling, can you? Every time you fail, master the courage to pick yourself up, dust off and give it another shot. Don’t let failure consume your heart.

As young people, giving up is easy when things don’t work out. But that would be the worst mistake anyone could ever make in their life. The reality is you’ll fail, not once, not twice, but a lot. So, buckle up! It’s going to be a rough ride.

Fail until winning is inevitable

Failure shapes us in ways that success never will. It is more valuable because it hurts so bad. From a failure, you can choose to take a less challenging path or try again. And when you choose the latter, failure will propel you to the future you desire. Here are some key lessons to be learned from failing:

1. Failure gets rid of fear

If you examine the reason why you’ve been holding back, you’ll realize it’s the fear of failing. But once you’ve ventured out and failed! There’s nothing else to fear. You’ll be accustomed to failing that getting out of your comfort zone won’t be an issue anymore.

2. Failure strengthens you

Failure can break you into many tiny pieces, but it can also build your strength to remarkable levels. If failure has knocked you to the ground and you’ve managed to rise back up and fight even harder, nothing can break you.

3. Failure teaches you what to value

Success gets to your head, but failure keeps you grounded. Failure teaches you to value the little things in life that you’d otherwise take for granted. It reshapes your perception of what’s valuable. You’ll focus on what’s most important.

4. Failure is an opportunity

When you make mistakes, you’ll know exactly where you went wrong. Failure gives you an opportunity to try again and make informed choices. It builds your resilience. The more you fail, the more you become mentally strong and capable of taking even more risk. Overall, you’ll become more confident in your abilities.

Now go forth and fall flat on your face. It’s only then that you’ll have the courage to conquer your fears, find value in your struggles and tap into opportunities unapologetically.