Failure is defined as the lack of success, the omission of expected or required action, or the action or state of not functioning.  No one likes the feeling of failing and it is normal to want to avoid it. However, there are silver linings in accepting failure.

Four ways that failure can make you a stronger person

Failure develops resilience – study the development of world-changing discoveries and you’ll see that they were preceded by repeated failures.  Doing anything new means figuring out a road map to success where there wasn’t one before. It is going to be a necessary thing to eventually succeed when you don’t have knowledge of previous successes and failures to build upon.  Being able to evaluate why the failure happened and use it to try a more educated approach will build a resilience muscle.

For example, Thomas Edison made over 10,000 light bulbs before he finally succeeded. He kept going though.  He said “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Imagine how different our world would be if Edison hadn’t been resilient enough to keep trying.

Failure present opportunities – it’s disappointing when you try to achieve a goal and you fail.  However, that failure may contain a serendipitous discovery. Science provides some great examples.

  • Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin when he noticed that mold had contaminated his flu cultures
  • A clumsy researcher discovered safety glass when he knocked a beaker off a high shelf. He noticed that it broke but not into dangerous shards of glass
  • Recently scientists accidentally spilled wine onto an experiment while drunk and discovered that the superconductors ran faster

Failure helps you learn about yourself – Adam Savage, of Myth Busters fame, has said that observing and exploring his failures have taught him everything important about himself and made him a better person.  What have you learned from your failures? 

Failure teaches you that failure isn’t fatal – Failure bruises the ego and can shake your confidence, but the people who accept it do learn that those feelings are temporary and not fatal.  It can feel like it, but the world won’t end if learning something new doesn’t happen the first time.

Go ahead and try that thing that you’re curious about.  If you don’t get it the first time, you’ll still learn something.