Is Failure Mandatory on the Road to Success?



The short answer is no. You do not have to fail repeatedly in order to achieve success. That being said, having some failures is the fastest way to learn, so long as you look at why you failed. If, like many of us, you remember your failures more than your successes, then certainly you’ll avoid the same failures.


Fall Down Seven Times, Fall Down Seven Times?

Why the emphasis on falling down so much? I mean, I get it about persistence and getting up over and over, but do we all have to scrape our knees so many times to learn the lesson? You might like this other article about failure, too: What Happens When You Focus on Failure and creativity? Then again, many people learn the hard way–by making mistakes themselves.

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Learn from Others

Sometimes a person’s only purpose in this world is to provide a bad example to others. You know what I mean. Drunk driving is just one example. We don’t have to experience it firsthand to know it’s a bad idea. Amy Reese Anderson suggests that “At the end of the day we can learn things the hard way or we can learn them the easy way – the choice is up to us.” And the advice to accept help or advice from others is one that seems to gain favor the older we get. Read her article: Learning from Others Mistakes is a Great Way to Save Yourself A Whole Lot Of Time, Money, And Pain.

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Success Is Not a Good Teacher; Failure Makes You Humble

Shah Rukh Khan, the Indian actor, said “failure makes you humble.” Not only does failure make you humble, you will have empathy with others who have failed. And then there’s the laughing-at-yourself part. That happens, too. And who amongst us doesn’t enjoy self-deprecating humor? But why go out of your way to fail when failure comes naturally? We’ll probably fail no matter how hard we try not to.

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Steve Jobs on Failure

Steve Jobs famously said, “you’ve gotta be willing to fail. You’ve gotta be ready to crash and burn.” He also says that you need to ask. Be willing to pick up the phone and ask, which most people don’t ever do. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.

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