Since a (very) young age we’ve been taught to fear failure. We dreaded coming home to reveal the “F” we got on an assignment or class to our parents. We grow up to become adults who are careful not to screw up a project at our jobs for fear of being fired. This conditioned mentality to fear risks and fear failure has permeated our culture.
However, there is another school of thought, which teaches that the path to success goes through failure, and that it is almost necessary to stumble and fall on your path to getting what you want. So here are some reasons that you should not fear, but rather embrace failure.
1. It makes you resilient – If you get knocked down and are able to dust yourself off and try again, you will begin to develop a character trait that is necessary for success; you will become resilient. You are almost assuredly not going to get exactly what you want exactly when you want it. It is inevitable that the fog that is uncertainty may obscure your vision for the future. Once you’ve failed a few times and you realize that you didn’t die from it, you’ll be able to try again and again. You can be wrong 100 times, but you only have to be right once to become a success.
2. It helps you refine your process – Treat your ideas and goals like experiments. You may set out to achieve a certain outcome, but if you don’t reach your mark in that trial, you can take a step back and figure out what you did wrong. On the flip side of the coin, you can also look at the things you did well, and carry them on with you to the next experiment. Slowly but surely your expertise in your desired area will grow due to your past attempts. Pilots must go through many hours of flight simulation and sitting co pilot before actually getting to fly a plane themselves. Treat your early experiments like simulations until you are ready to make a big move. Use your failures as stepping-stones to evolve to the next version of yourself, who will become increasingly equipped to handle the challenges along the way.
3. It teaches you gratitude – If you got everything that you’ve ever wanted right away, I imagine that you may actually not be as happy as you’d think. Take for example a child that has wealthy parents and has never had to work a day in their life; many of those types of people may be unhappy having everything handed to them. When you fail a few times, it will make the moment where you reach your true goals that much sweeter. Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs said that his last championship title was his favorite. The year before, they came within inches of the crown and lost. They had to start all over the next season but they made it back to the finals and won. Think of how much more that team appreciated their victory. The same will happen for you if you are able to stick with it.
4. It teaches you to appropriately assess risk – Many people do not take risks simply because their ability to judge risk is very poor. Many people are afraid to risk trying something new in fear of losing their security. Oftentimes, however, they seem to not fear the risk of living a crappy existence. Failure teaches you that potential ventures may not be as risky as they appear to others. Your experience will help you become an accurate judge of when to hold em and when to fold em.
5. It gives you a story to tell – Nobody wants to hear the story of the person who had every single thing in his or her life go exactly as planned. That would make for the most boring movie of all time. People love the underdog. People love hearing about a person’s trials and tribulations before they made it to the top. It is said that the journey itself is more important than the reward. Your memories will provide you with an abundance of happiness knowing that you were down and out and never quit. Make your plan, follow your plan, and if you fuck up make another plan and do it again. Thomas Edison had numerous amounts of failures. He also created the light bulb. The failed attempts are what make the successful ones worth it.