The Upside of Failure
Whether we fail a test or get fired from a job, not doing something successfully is a universal experience. Our response to failure is what makes us who we are and it’s always possible to improve. Despite the fact that failure is painful and difficult, it is a necessary evil that facilitates personal growth and development. The meaning of the word failure comes not from the actual negative event; it is a double-edged sword that changes depending on what happens afterward.
Failure can have two different meanings. Failure assumes a negative connotation when a person does not succeed and does not try again. Alternatively, when a person does try again, the mistake becomes just another step of their life’s trajectory. Many prolific people endured multiple and sometimes prolonged periods of failure that preceded their success. People like Bill Gates and Charles Darwin were not initially rewarded by their arduous efforts.
Venerated American writer, Truman Capote, famously said,
Without the despair of failure we would not fully appreciate how satisfying it is to do well at something. Furthermore, by attempting things multiple times we learn and cultivate the skills that ultimately engender success. Knowing defeat and going through the difficult act of pulling oneself out from its depths gives us an intimate understanding and empathy for those who are struggling. Failure makes us better people. After we forgive ourselves and accept what has happened, we have the opportunity for personal improvement and advancement.
Perfection does not exist in this world and it stands to reason that mistakes are inevitable. We are only human and it is okay to mess up. I tell myself these things on days where I am afraid or overwhelmed and doubting myself. By accepting our flaws and errors, we allow ourselves the opportunity to become stronger. Truman Capote expressed that success would have no flavor without failure. I agree and would add that life would be dreadfully boring if we were all perfect.