Failure is the key to success

Michael Jordan didn’t make Varsity Basketball his sophomore year. Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple. The Beatles were told they would never succeed. These stories all prove that mistakes and failure won’t ruin your chances of success and that it’s not worth it to let the opinion of others affect you. While fearing failure is an easy rabbit hole to go down, it is one that, with hard work, can be avoided. Mistakes are inevitable and we as humans need to reshape how we view failure to not view it as a negative thing. Learning how to overcome setbacks is a key necessity to becoming a successful person and living a productive life. Failure is something that shouldn’t be feared but embraced.

Some people view failure as a stopping point when the truth is failure is an obstacle for one to grow from. By negatively viewing failure we lower our self-esteem and drive to achieve what we want. Thomas Watson, a former CEO of IBM once said “The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.”  Executives such as Watson believe that failure allows people to be more innovative and imaginative. These traits then lead to success because it allows people to reflect on their mistakes and understand why their mistakes are happening. When learning a new skill or creating a new product failure is bound to happen, however by accepting your mistakes and continuing to experiment you will increase your chances of success. 

“Never give up” is a great, inspiring motto to live by. However, people don’t often clarify just how exhausting that can be. It’s normal to have doubts and worries but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about them. A step in letting go is to remember your setbacks aren’t permanent. If you remind yourself that your setbacks are temporary then you can stay motivated and move forward. One example of this method being beneficial is in the world of sports. One thing I have learned from years of playing lacrosse is that if I dwell on my mistake, I am more likely to become distracted and self-conscious, raising the chances of poor performance. But if I quickly remind myself that the mistake made is now out of my control, I can move on, learn from, and fix my mistake in the following plays.

Another important factor in achieving success is to have confidence. Through time it’s been proven that those who compare themselves less overall are more confident. Confidence is a key to success because it gives you a motivational boost to overcome failure. “’You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there” Venus Williams once said. However, comparing yourself to others is not an easy habit to drop. One way to become more confident is by using affirmations. The famous pop singer Lizzo, known for her confidence and body positivity, has discussed how she speaks words of self-praise in front of a mirror to boost her confidence. By hearing herself do this she learns to love the parts of herself she’s insecure about.

Overall it’s important not to let your past and mistakes define you. What indeed shows your character is how you respond to failures and your ability to improve and move forward. In doing this it’s important to accept your mistakes by not dwelling on them and prioritizing your road to success by not comparing them to others. Remember: you only fail once you give up.