The other day, I was talking to a good friend of mine after we had just gotten our results back from a brutal biology test.
Naturally, he asked the question that everyone asks after they get a test back “So what did you get?”.
“98%”,I replied truthfully. ‘What about you?’.
“98!?! What the hell man, I got 74,”he said depressingly. He let out a defeated groan, as if he thought he had just let down the next 4 generations of his family.
Puzzled, I started to say what I truly and honestly believed in.
“Mate, I honestly don’t know why you’re so sad about a bad class test. You need to see the positive side of this! Now you know what parts you’re struggling with in this topic, you can study so much more intelligently since now you’re fully aware of what your weak points are. Learning from failures is the key to succeed in anything in school.”
And I meant that. But my friend just looked at me with confused and slightly annoyed eyes and said “Shut the hell up man, you always get 95% or above in tests, you can never understand,”.
Now, I’ll be 100% honest with you guys, that statement confused me a little bit.
Did my friend not realise that I’m only getting good grades BECAUSE I’ve been learning from my failures before? Did he think that I was born a genius? (That I can give a safe and resounding ‘hell no’).
Every successful person I’ve ever read about has mentioned failure as one of their best mentors in their life, a thought that I support 110%.
Here’s just a few reasons why we need to value our failures:
1. IT’S ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO LEARN
Those who never fail never tried anything new.
When we absolutely flunk something or mess up really badly, it’s human nature that we immediately get embarrassed, angry, or blame other factors for our own shortcomings.
Most of the time we point our fingers towards anything but ourselves.
When we fail, or screw something up, we must take a step back and ask ourselves the following questions:
‘What did I do wrong?’
‘Is there another way of doing this?’
‘How can I do things differently next time?’
By analysing what we did wrong, learning from it, and trying again, we slowly become smarter and more intelligent than if we just quit and walk away.
2. IT STRENGHTENS YOU
Let’s be honest, failure can sometimes hurt. I’ll even admit that it stung too many times to count in the past.
However, the skill to be able to learn and bounce back from failure is such an invaluable skill not only because you can gain knowledge from it, but also because it strengthens your resilience and mental endurance.
My personal philosophy is since failure is inevitable in life, it’s best that we learn how to deal with it early on in life than cry over it later.
3. IT IS THE KEY TO SUCCEED
Like I said before, every single successful person I’ve ever read or heard about has had their fair share of failure way more than once throughout their lives.
You may know of Jeff Bezos now because of Amazon, but did you know of his initial startup called zShops? No? Of course not. That’s because it was an absolute flop.
But after that did he just pack up his bags and quit? Like hell he did.
Or take the case of James Dyson, who reportedly built 5126 prototypes before he finally got his game-winning vacuum cleaner right. Yes, 5126.
Basically, in Queen’s English, what I’m trying to say here is that failure is the key to success. It gives you the invaluable opportunity to try it all again, but now armed with key insights and new knowledge.
To summarise, don’t be afraid of failure. I know it’s much easier said than done,but take a look at how others have dealt with it in the past and look at where they are now. Maybe you can learn a thing or two from them!
Here are some other useful websites to help you deal with failure!