Failing on your way to success

August 16, 2020

Failure allows us to learn what works and what doesn’t

Michael Phelps

We all come in contact with failure at one or the other stage in our life. Almost all of us dread the idea of failing. As a society, we see failure to be detrimental to our success. Our success-driven society doesn’t reward defeat and you won’t find many failures documented in history books. This is why the phrase “failure is life’s greatest teacher” is disregarded by people from a very young age.

However, sports is the only activity in the world that teaches you how to lose. It shows how defeat is important for us and what it teaches us. The most important aspect of failure in sports is that it gives you multiple chances to make a comeback even if we keep on losing. This chance isn’t offered by any other field. Many sportsmen like Muhammad Ali and Michael Phelps after failing miserably on the grandest stage made a comeback and proved their mettle.

Furthermore, defeat gives us a reality check because when we are winning we think we are invincible. Failure teaches us that we do not and cannot control everything. It teaches us to learn from our mistakes, to rectify them. An example of this is when a child is learning how to ride a bicycle, he falls but he realises his mistake and starts again.

Failure teaches us to be courageous. When you have nothing to lose, you have a lot to gain. Rocky Balboa beautifully explains this, saying, “Our greatest glory is not in failing but in rising every time we fail.” Another thing that is deteriorating in our society is the ability to rise from setbacks and failures. Serena Williams once said, “I’ve grown most not from victories but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how He teaches us.”

Another example of this is when Edison was trying to make the light bulb. He failed 1000 times before he found the correct formula. He said, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”

Fear of failure is so widespread in our society that after people fail once they neither have the strength nor the motivation to make a comeback as they don’t want to experience that pain and embarrassment once again in their lives so they opt not to take the risk.

JK Rowling has said, “Rock bottom can become the solid foundation you need to rebuild your life only if you want to.”

If Nelson Mandela had had the fear of failing, he would not have become the greatest leader in the world after spending 27 years in prison.

All in all, although failure can be painful and although people have developed an aversion to it, it can actually allow us to unlock great potential. But in order to do so, we have to change our mindset. Instead of seeing it as something detrimental to success, we have to see it as a tool for success, a tool that helps us refine our path and allows us to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Failing on your way to success