Why Failure is Good

Failure, A terribly frightening word. Isn’t it?

The fear of failure is one of the ten most dreadful fear of human life. Most of the “about-to-succeed” people aren’t able to reach that zenith of success because of this fear of failure prevailing inside them.

But, what if I say failure is a new step towards success?

Does it sound illogical?

Let us turn our heads around and look at the other side of the picture. On the grounds of logic you will find failure pertinent for achieving your goal. You’ll find a lesson buried deep underneath the carpet of every failure you are standing on.

So, the question arises- Why are we still so afraid of facing failures or to fall? Didn’t you ever fall when you were learning to walk?

May be you were too young to remember.

Then how about while learning to  cycle? Or ride a bike? Or didn’t you ever get your car dented? 

Well if not, then you can definitely be crowned as “Lucky” because that doesn’t really happen in life. Calculated risk is never that risky to be scared off.

When we really work hard without leaving any stone unturned to achieve something, we expect only “good” as the outcome. But when did great leaders proclaim success as the only good? No they didn’t, because that isn’t the case. Success and failure are the two sides of the same coin. And a success without any small or big failed attempt is practically a myth.

I know in this practical world we don’t really give a damn about theories. So let us rewind ourselves to the time when Albert Einstein was a school student. Did you know Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientist ever in history, was actually expelled from his school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He was unable to learn anything and hence failed at learning. He did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7-years-old. His parents thought he was “sub-normal” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally-slow, unsociable, adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was told he wasn’t fit for studying! Unbelievable? But this really happened. What did he do then? Got scared of this big failure? Accepted himself as a loser? No he didn’t. Rather he arose as the most intelligent person and a significant scientist, contributing a number of innovations for the mankind.

Let us talk about another pioneer from history, Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. I have not failed. I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work."

Yet again, failure contributed in success, approving the old saying by Samuel Beckett; “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”


You might find these stories too old to be applicable in this neck-to-neck competitive world. In that case, you would be surprised to know, Google has set up yet another example for us. Yes! Google, the biggest and most popular search engine of the time had to face a major rejection from Yahoo! Yahoo turned down an offer to buy out Google. In 1998, Page and Brin, the founders of Google, then known as “backrub search engine” offered a deal to Excite and Yahoo to buy their search engine for 1 million dollars, so that Page and Brin, could resume their studies at Stanford university. For which, they had to face rejections.


Google turned out to be the most popular and powerful search engine, conquering over its earlier abnegators! This reminds me of Confucius wisdom words “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”


Have you heard about the Munich airplane crash carrying the entire Manchester United football team along with supporters and journalists? 23 of the 44 on the aircraft died resulting in 21 survivors. Seven of Manchester United's players died immediately, and Duncan Edwards died later from his injuries. Two of the team players were injured so severely that they never played again. The team was devastated and yet played in the 1958 FA Cup Final.

United only won one league game after the crash, causing their title challenge to collapse and they fell to ninth place in the league but they did manage to reach the final of the FA Cup, and even managed to beat Milan at Old Trafford in the semi-finals of the European Cup.

Real Madrid, who went on to win the trophy for the third year running, suggested that Manchester United be awarded the trophy for that year.

Wasn’t that yet another fist of victory on the face of failure? Yes it was. This story indeed proves the well-known phoenix story, stamping the words of Janet Fitch; “The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

Any day you decide to sit and count the biggest failures who created history, don’t forget to add in your list the names like Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs and the list can go on.   

Have you ever noticed that ant? The one which is trying to climb up a smooth wall? It slips, falls down back to the ground, fails for n-1 times. But it never stops trying. It learns a new lesson every time with every failure and makes another attempt to climb up that wall, eliminating the previous failures. And it finally climbs the wall in its nth attempt. A determined ant learns from the failures and finally succeeds, setting up an example.

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

Count your failures, analyze them, find the loop holes, repair them, grab the lesson out of it and with all these armory get set for the next attempt. Don’t be afraid of the failures, you need to face them and use them to carve the path of your success.


Yamini Srivastava