“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister during World War II.
I’ll just come out and say it, failure is the best teacher you could ever have – far beyond anything success can ever teach you.
In fact, I’m so convinced of this that one day I’m going to write a book all about people who have failed massively.
It will be an anti-motivational bestseller! (I think – or maybe not.)
Personally, I’ve found far more benefits from failure than I have done with success.
So, in this blog post, I want to share the importance of failure in the self-improvement process and how you can shift your mindset away from viewing failure as a bad thing.
(If you’re a more visual or auditory learner rather than a reader, you can also check out the video version of this blog below!)
Ultimately, failure is not something you should be afraid of. Rather, it is something that you’ll have to learn to embrace eventually.
The Importance of Failure As A Teaching Tool
As I’ve already said, failure is our greatest teacher and I 100% stand by that statement.
But you might be thinking, “Ben, what about success? Surely success teaches us as much as, if not more than, failure?”.
And, I definitely understand that perspective.
Self-improvement is a journey and success lets us know that we’re heading in the right direction.
But, the actual path of self-improvement is through failure.
We will fail over and over again because we have to.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher.
There is no success without failure.
Every professional football player has likely missed far more shots than they’ve scored. 70% of small businesses fail within 10 years. The majority of people fail their driving test the first time.
Every one of our lives is going to be built on failures:
- Failed exams
- Broken relationships
- Job losses
- And so much more…
Pretty depressing, right?
Well, yes. But, maybe there’s an alternative way to look at this.
The Truth About Failure
OK, here’s the stark truth about failing: everybody does it!
Which I imagine is no surprise, but let me dive a little deeper into this concept.
We need failure as much as we need success.
Because it’s not just important to know how to do something.
It’s also important to know how not to do something and how to do something the best way.
Success isn’t always the best option because – whilst you may have achieved your goal – there may be an easier, more efficient or more fun way to do it.
Also, if all you ever experienced was success, then it wouldn’t be as valuable to you because there would be nothing to compare it to.
You know that you’re in a great relationship because it’s positively different from the failed relationships before.
The dream job that you’ve now got is better because you can compare it to all the other jobs before it.
Ultimately, our failures make us better – and more successful – people.
Personally, I know that I would not be the person that I am today if I didn’t have the failures in relationships, money, family, academics and much more.
These experiences made me who I am.
But you might be thinking, “That’s all very well and good, Ben. But failure sucks and it hurts. What can I do about that?”
Well, let’s jump to the next section of this blog post.
How To Get Over Failure
Well, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come out and say it: failure hurts and it probably always will.
But wait, don’t click off the blog post yet! Don’t be discouraged!
Just because something hurts, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be useful.
After all, any avid gym-goer will tell you, “No pain, no gain!”, right?
So, here are 4 simple steps for overcoming failure.
Step 1) Accept That Failure Sucks
The fact that failure sucks and it’s painful is something that we can’t change.
But, pain is part of life and it has to be accepted.
This isn’t something that a well-constructed blog post can teach you though.
It’s something you’ll have to learn for yourself over time.
Just remember though, pain is temporary.
If you need to, check out that quote at the beginning of this blog post again and remind yourself that “failure is not fatal”.
No matter what point you are at in your life at the moment, you’ve managed to get this far and you can go further still.
Step 2) Look For The Lesson
There’s always a lesson to be learned in failure, even if it’s just learning what you don’t want from life.
When you stalled your car for the first time, the lesson to be learned was proper clutch balancing.
Or when you took that test and failed, you learned what not to do the next time.
There are hundreds and thousands of examples of lessons to be learned from failure.
In fact, you should be able to track back through all of your major life failures and recall an important lesson you learned on that day.
I spent £1000+ on a weekend to impress a girl I was trying to date. I learned that I needed to respect my money and that most girls aren’t impressed by flashing cash.
There’s always a lesson to be learned.
Step 3) Try, Try Again
Here come the clichés!
No, but really though… if at first you don’t succeed, you can always try again.
After all, just because you didn’t pass a job interview, you won’t give up on future jobs for the rest of your life, right?
Or just because you got rejected by that guy or girl doesn’t mean you need to go and live in a hut in the far reaches of Tibet in silent solitude.
We fail. Then we try again. That’s the process.
Fall. Get up. Get back on the horse.
Step 4) It’s OK To Quit
Now, I know that what I just said is blasphemy in the self-help community.
But, I stand by it.
It’s OK to quit.
If something doesn’t align with your values, if it’s not rewarding or if it’s not what you want in your life, then it’s OK to quit.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you should “never give up, no matter what”.
It’s fine to give up.
During my lifetime (so far), I’ve given up on:
- Reading dozens of self-help books every year
- Certain friendships and relationships
- Daily exercise
- Juice cleanses
- And so much more…
I gave up on these things because they weren’t worth continuing, they weren’t worth the time and effort or they just didn’t align with my values any more.
So, if you’ve been working towards a goal, don’t make the mistake of wasting more time on it than you need to.
If it doesn’t work for you any more or if it’s not rewarding, there are options.
Try modifying the goal in some way to rekindle the fire. But, if it’s just not happening for you, then you can quit.
And nobody can or should ever shame you for doing what’s right for you!
So, that’s it.
Those are my thoughts on the importance of failure.
Just one more thing through…
When you do fail, remember this: you’re never starting over from zero.
No matter what happens, you’ve always got the lessons that you’ve picked up along the way.
That means that when you start over, you’ve got an even bigger advantage over the last time.
I really hope you’ve found this blog post useful.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are on the importance of failure. So, leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll do my best to reply to every single one of them.
Also, if you’re ready to take the next step in your life and start living with confidence, then make sure that you check out my Confidence Coaching page where you can get in contact with me to arrange a free consultation on whether confidence coaching is right for you.
Alternatively, you can check out the LTUK Facebook page and contact me on there.
But, otherwise, thanks for making it all the way to the end of this blog post.
I look forward to having you back on Life Transformation UK very soon!