Everyone aspires to succeed in life, but despite our best efforts to reach our goals, we sometimes stumble and fail. Nobody enjoys this feeling–it’s humiliating, belittling, and heartbreaking. We deem it as proof of our insufficiency and think that we’re just not that good enough. Scared that we might experience it once more, we sometimes choose not to try again at the expense of our dreams. It can break us, make us feel more vulnerable than ever, and maybe even drive us down the rabbit hole of depression.
In 2018, a Forbes article mentioned the results of psychologists, Daniel Kahneman, and Amos Tversky’s study on why we are so averse to failure. In their work, they explained that the “… effect of loss is twice as great as the gain from a win.” It impacts us very negatively, even more than how much positive impact we gain from success. Since our childhoods, we were trained to do good. Anything that strays from this standard is a failure. This is why we do not even entertain the idea of failure.
However, we will inevitably go through setbacks every now and then, and we have to learn that it’s okay. Depending on how you handle failure, you can actually come out of it as an improved version of yourself. What we fail to realize is that failures are valuable experiences that can teach us things that other experiences cannot. We have to train ourselves to look at every failure’s silver lining because the only alternative can cost us too much.
Here are some reasons why failures are actually good for us:
1. It gives you direction.
Sometimes, we make decisions based only on what we want, not what’s good for us. When we fail, we get a chance to re-examine our decisions. Maybe, we stumbled because we took the wrong path. Ask yourself the following questions: What went wrong? Where did I make a mistake? How can I change the outcome next time? By asking these questions, we gain a sense of clarity. We learn, and we have a chance to redirect our focus because we realize that this is not the path for us.
2. It teaches you a lot of things.
When did you last fail? What did you learn from it? When you take on a new activity, you give it your all and enjoy it, right? Whatever we do, whether we win or lose, we always finish with a new learning experience. Failures cannot take these learnings away. It may be a better understanding of how things operate, or what went wrong during the first time you tried it.
Always remember that you never really lose when you try new things. You always gain something out of it. Realize that trying and failing are two of the best teachers you can have. Take every chance to learn from these experiences.
ALSO READ: 10 Useful Ways to Bounce Back from Failure
3. It builds your character.
Failures are challenging, but Kelly Clarkson knew what she was saying when she sang “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It can break you apart and make you feel really sad and disappointed. But there’s nothing that can build your character better than humbling moments of failures.
When we fail, we learn to be accountable for our actions. We gain responsibility for our decisions, and we have enough knowledge to work smarter the next time. The next time we fail, we crumble a little less because we have become stronger. Success does not teach you that.
4. It can make you braver.
Bouncing back from failures is hard, but it can become less intimidating once we learn to cope with it. This is really important because failure preys on our fears. And, when we fear things, we become less likely to take important risks to move forward.
If you can handle failures well, you will find yourself becoming more confident the next time you try again. Just knowing that you were able to overcome your previous setbacks is a powerful experience.
5. It is so much better than not trying.
Do you know what’s actually bad? Regrets. Not knowing what could have happened if you tried is so much more than learning from failing. It will be so much easier for you to keep moving forward, knowing that you tried and gave your best. Failure can teach you things, while regrets only leave you with questions that can never be answered.
6. It makes your success sweeter.
Vera Wang, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, and Sir Isaac Newton — you know what these people have in common? They failed at least once in their lives, as students or professionals, before getting to their current status in life and after death. Walt Disney was once fired because he had “no good ideas,” and failed at a handful of businesses before successfully releasing his movie “Snow White”. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, was turned down by over 200 investors; Elvis Presley was told he couldn’t sing; and Albert Einstein almost failed out of school.
Your head may be spinning because these names are all household names. Do you know what else they all have in common? They all kept trying. Hearing a person who tried once and succeeded right away is amazing, but hearing the story of a person who tried many times before reaching success? Now that is inspiring.
Success doesn’t come easy for most people, and most people think that failure is a shameful thing to experience. However, literally everyone experiences this. Even those who are extremely successful have had setbacks in the past. It’s normal– it’s okay to fail. It is understandably difficult to go through, and sometimes it can feel like the end of our professional or personal endeavors. But we hope you realized by now that failure is a skill. If you’re good at it, the payoffs are really great. So let yourself fail gracefully. Go and take risks. Allow yourself to stumble and embrace the new things you will learn. Keep in mind that success is just a few more failures away– just be smart about it.
ALSO READ: 12 Tips to Conquer Your Fear of Failure