A lot of people have tons of negative perceptions of failure. As if it was something that one should really avoid, they do their best not to fail. However, is that really the key to success? Isn’t it a misconception? After all, everyone – including great champions – have miserably failed in their lives. They have been scorned, other people even tried to pull them down, and yet, they succeeded in their field, why is that? I think that the biggest difference between a champion and an average person is that the champion thinks like a champion – he’s not afraid of failing. In fact, he loves failing. It’s like he’s not only playing to win, but also to fail and to grow more than the person they were yesterday. I really wanted to write this article, which I find is key to succeeding at anything: I’m talking about why failing is good.
What would it be like to be perfect?
I’ll take a different approach this time. Let’s say that you were a special person, different from anyone else and born under a lucky star. In short, you were perfect at all levels. You were tall, fit, good-looking, persistent, funny, you would master every languages and every forms of art, you would be able to write, to cook.. you would basically be a master at anything you touch. Wouldn’t it be boring? It’s like when you do something, you already know you’re going to succeed. There is no form of growth whatsoever since you’ve already achieved the perfect level. At this stage, you’re no longer a human -you’re a god.
On the other hand, wouldn’t having room for growth be exciting? You never know what level you’re going to achieve, what form of adversity you’re going to face – and you’re going to face some, without having 100% certainty you will handle the job perfectly. That is, to me at least, a lot more fun. Truth be told, I love to fail myself. Each time I do, I feel like I’m becoming someone different. I’m not perfect, far from it, but aiming for perfection is way better than being the perfection itself.
Human beings are all equal
Now, let’s turn things around. Do you think the perfect human being I described above really exists? Well, according to the Devil’s Proof, I can’t deny it. Indeed, one cannot deny the nonexistence of something. Proving the Devil’s existence is way more easier than proving that it doesn’t exist. However, using the logic we have been given, we know that is not the case. In fact, such a human being may exist, but it does not hinder what I’m saying, as it would be an exception to the rule.
If most people on this planet are not born perfect, what does that mean? It means that everyone equally go through challenges and need to fail in order to grow. In short, everyone, including champions, failed. Actually, using past tense is not enough, as they still fail. Obviously, the more you grow, the less you fail, but it doesn’t mean that you stop failing. Even if it is a very small and unnoticeable mistake you make, you’re actually still failing.
Now that we understand that we all fail, we must attack the subject from the core: why is failing actually good? I think that I’ve already given you enough hint for you to understand my reasoning, but let me develop it a little bit more.
To fail is to grow
Growing is so important to me that I cannot understand why some people don’t want to grow. Growing is becoming a better person, or a better version of yourself. Why wouldn’t one want to become better? People that avoid failures also avoid growth. Failing is part of the process, it’s actually the easy part. Messing up something is easy, but learning from it is harder.
I think that a lot of people expect to be good at something right from the beginning. They’re looking for the “get rich quick” or the “learn this skill in just 24 hours”, but they don’t understand that it’s just an illusion. You can’t expect to move from beginner to expert just like that, it takes work and dedication. The problem with that kind of mentality, is that you don’t allow yourself to make mistakes. 24 hours is not enough to make mistakes.
The person you were two months ago and the person you are now are two completely different persons.
Failing is getting you closer to your goals
Let’s look at it like a video game: you start from level 1. You want to go up to level 100. You must first understand that you need to take action, otherwise you’ll get stuck at level 1. Here’s where most people get it wrong. When you fail, you’re not stagnating at level 1, you actually leveled up. You might not have noticed it, but you actually took a level. Some people arbitrarily decide that what they’re doing is wrong whereas it was the right thing to do. We’ve been taught by school not to make mistakes, but that is a huge error in my opinion. To not allow yourself room for error is to not allow yourself to grow.
Don’t think failure, think feedback
Thinking about making mistakes – which we have been taught not to do – might be hard for some people. How about looking at it this way: don’t think failure, think feedback. Feedback is actually a lot more friendly. Whereas the word failure may contain some negative connocations, the word feedback sounds softer.
Feedback implies that you get opinions for your actions. In short, it means that it tells you what to do as well as what not to do. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether you think of it as a failure or a feedback doesn’t change the outcome, but it sure can change the way you look at it.
Getting opinions from other people is critical in every field, as they will be able to give you an extended perspective which you can’t look from by yourself.
Although some people dread it, failure is in my opinion the best thing that can happen to you. Do not fear it, embrace it. Failing is a hidden path to improving yourself in every aspects of your life, yet most people do not see it. The biggest mistake is not to fail, it’s to avoid failure.