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The Importance of Redefining Failure

Posted on 2016-05-23 | Kristin McGuckin Print Friendly and PDF

Everyone wants success in life, their goals, career, and love life, as well as everything that is important to them. Failure can hurt a lot, particularly when you fail at something that you really want to succeed in. But failure does not discriminate; everyone fails at one time or another.

The problem is when you associate failure in life as total reflection on your character and worthiness as a person. It can be very damaging to your ego and psyche to fail, because as a society, we teach from a young age that failure is bad. From the classroom, to the office to maintaining social relationships, we have been indoctrinated to avoid failure at all costs.

It might be a cliché to say that you learn much more from failure than success, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. If you look at failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, it can be a point of turnaround in your life. This is when real personal development occurs. If you keep experiencing success after success, there is no real lightning rod for you to compare to. This can often lead to disaster because if you have had no real failure in life, then you won’t know how to handle and learn from it.

To paraphrase Thomas Edison, visionary inventor and scientist on the topic of failing to build a light bulb, "I didn't fail, I found 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb; I only need to find one way to make it work." This quote highlights the importance of reconceptualising failure as a positive learning experience, rather than a negative lowering of your value as a person.


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