“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison. That is precisely the kind of mindset that separates those who throw their hands up in despair when they fail from those who get up and go again, keeping the lessons they learnt from their failings in mind. One of the main things keeping people who have failed once or twice from trying again is the way society uses failure to define us, label us and make us feel like we’re no good. We are brought up to believe that there is nothing good to be derived from not succeeding – not even the lessons we learn from our failure. But the truth is that failure has so many benefits that we can all use to our advantage. Here are 6 major benefits of failure.
Also read: 7 reasons why we fail.
- It Humbles us: When we succeed in all our endeavors, we run the risk of becoming complacent. A look at historical world powers: Rome and Persia among others will show that they failed mainly due to the erroneous thinking that their past successes would guarantee success in the future. They thus failed to adapt to changes and challenges that came their way. When we fail however, we are kept humble. One of the benefits of failure is that it humbles and motivates us in a way that success doesn’t. When we know that the competition will keep coming at us, that we can lose fortunes and that every booming market can lose its relevance, we are more driven to keep doing all we can to stay relevant.
- It makes us realize exactly where we’re at: Imagine that lifelong dream you’ve had. You tried to attain it and failed woefully the first couple of times. Instead of feeling like you’ve failed irreversibly and giving up altogether, someone who will eventually succeed will hunt around for the reason for that failure. Another one of the many benefits of failure is the reality check it gives us. When we fail to achieve something we really wanted, it makes us search for what went wrong. Failure shines a light on just where we are lacking, what we’ve done wrong and what we need to do to make it right.
- Teaches us valuable lessons: My own version of the saying “experience is the best teacher” is “Failure is the best teacher”. Though its lessons are harsh, one of the benefits of failure is that it teaches us better than any “how to achieve” manual written by the most successful person who ever lived. Just as important as knowing what to do is knowing what NOT to do. In hindsight, the lessons you learn from any failed venture or attempt are priceless. Armed with these lessons, when we decide to try again, our chances of succeeding would be that much better.
- Shows us who is in our corner: You know who your real friends are when you’re at your lowest point. When we fail, we send out distress signals – oftentimes unconsciously – to those we are closest to. An important benefit of failure is that it lets us know just where we stand as regards our support system in these times. Those who sense our need for encouragement, motivation and support are our real friends indeed. Friends, family, colleagues – anyone who offers to help however they can or just listen to us vent is in our corner.
- Builds character: They say you know the true measure of a man in times of adversity, not when the going is good. When you fail, does it put you down or do you keep walking tall and stay focused on what you set out to achieve? Experiencing failure is a true test of strength of character. It puts your courage, determination and resilience to the test. Until you experienced harsh times, you can’t fully appreciate the ride when it’s smooth. Failure will put you to the test and show you just what you’re made of – hope that it’s steel.
- Forces us to find creative solutions: When you’re at your wit’s end, you have no option but to come up with an out: a way to escape impending disaster. Failure works the same way. We may think we have all we need or want until we lose it all. Then, we are forced to re-evaluate and come up with a solution to our dilemma that is free from the vulnerabilities of our former situation.