What failure teaches us

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Failure is often associated with something negative, undesirable, and scary to experience; something that ought to be avoided. Experiencing failure can be saddening, painful, and discouraging; strong enough to make you have a bad day, week, or even a bad month. And while failure is undesirable, it is responsible for the great successes of many people. Notable achievers such as Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison, have all experienced some failures in their lives. This is because the failures of the past can be highly contributive to the successes of the present. And although, you may be experiencing failure in the present, this does not mean you cannot succeed in the future. Therefore, what are the positive things we can learn from failure? 

Failure makes you know which ways do not work

Experiencing failure allows you to become familiar with some techniques or methods that are unproductive. This experience makes it easier to cut out ineffective methods, and thus improving your chances of succeeding. For example, if there are thirty ways to achieve a goal, and ten ways have proven to be unproductive, you have twenty ways remaining, which improves your chances of achieving that goal. 

If you haven’t failed at something, or if you haven’t learnt from other people’s failures, you’ll never know which ways do not work. The artisan garners knowledge after numerous trials and errors. Technological advancement does not take place without failed attempts. A baby does not learn to walk without falling down many times. You may have failed a hundred times, but you’ve only just discovered a hundred ways that do not work. Therefore, don’t beat yourself up because you failed. Instead, be happy that your chances of succeeding are even higher. 

Failure reminds you that you need to improve

If you failed, it is because you didn’t do something right. And because you missed something out, you have an opportunity to correct that. The best educative articles were never written at first trials. The fastest runner did not become so fast at his first run. The best cannot be achieved at the very first try. Without the possibility to fail, we can never improve. In fact, it is because there is such word as failure that there is such word as improvement. 

Everyone is failing at one thing or the other because there is always room for improvement. Even the most successful people in the world may be said to be experiencing some failure because they can always improve. Therefore, if you fail, do not be quick to see yourself as a failure. You haven’t failed because you are inadequate or deficient, but rather, because you can always improve and should improve. The vital lessons we learn from failure add to our insight. And our ability to use these vital lessons to predict future occurrences and consequently make better choices builds our foresight. Failure, indeed, can teach us plenty of things, which success may never be able to teach us. 

Failure enables you to know what’s important

It is true that having failed several times can make you a better manager of your life. People who have failed more than a few times understand that there’s need to make more effective and efficient decisions if they want to be successful. They become very good at allocating their resources efficiently. Because they know why they failed, what they did wrong, and what they should have done, they are able to sit down, meditate on past actions, and afterwards create a better plan for their lives, which will eventually lead to success. 

Failure enhances your resilience and perseverance

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after failure; an endless pursuit of your goals regardless of having experienced failure in the process. To persevere is to persist towards achieving a meaningful goal, in spite of hardships. People who fail may either give up on their dreams or persevere; failure can either break you or make you stronger. And those who let failure make them stronger become resilient. This category of people can experience success, simply because they have the courage to believe that their goals will be achieved. 

Successful people who have never failed may lack adequate coping strategy and problem-solving skill to deal with failure if they come to experience one. Because they lack the experience, and it seems very strange and new to them, they may become so discouraged and upset that success becomes virtually difficult for them to achieve. For example, a man who has always been poor, worked so hard he changed his unfortunate story. Now rich and happy, misfortune befalls him and he becomes poor again. This man is able to cope through this poverty and achieve success again, because he has been there before, he has achieved success regardless, and he can do it again. This may not be true for someone who has never known poverty before, but has always been rich. 

You know your true friends

Failure helps you know who your true friends are. Since most people are looking for ways to enrich their lives, they will flock towards those who they believe will make that possible. For this reason, a rich man has a lot of friends, but a poor man has no friends. Most people will drift towards successful people, but only true friends will remain loyal to people who are facing hardships and experiencing failure. True friends are known not in times of prosperity, but in times of adversity.

You are able to understand and encourage other people

Having failed several times makes it easier for you to understand why other people fail, and therefore be a source of encouragement to them. Your knowledge from experience makes it possible for you to know what they are doing wrong, and how to help them make the right decisions. You have been where they are, and you have succeeded; they therefore have a lot to learn from you. You are able to put yourself into other people’s shoes, and empathize with them.