At the time, failure feels like the worst possible outcome in a situation. But sometimes it’s not until much later that we learn important lessons from our mistakes and realize that we actually got more out of the experience than we realized. Here’s why failure can be a good thing.
Why Failure Can Be a Good Thing
First, I don’t think you can really fail unless you give up completely. Even if you have a temporary setback or mess up, you can keep going toward your goal if it’s something really important to you, and in that way you definitely haven’t failed.
But even if you do call a setback a “failure,” you have to realize failure isn’t the opposite of success; failure is part of success. It’s almost impossible to succeed at a big enough goal unless you first fail a few times along the way. It’s just part of the learning process. But if you go into it knowing that ahead of time, then if you hit some kind of obstacle along the way, you won’t get as discouraged if you know that it’s just part of the process.
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth
On the other hand, maybe your “failure” actually makes you realize that your original goal isn’t actually what you wanted all along.
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama
Setbacks along the way are like a test to determine how badly you want something. Maybe an early obstacle makes you actually realize that no, this isn’t what you want. And then you can change course more quickly and move into doing something that you’re really passionate about.
When I was in a freshman high school, I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a while because it was a “good” job that a lot of my friends wanted to go into, but after failing my first biology exam, I realized that I’m actually more of a creative type and that math and science were not what I was passionate about. That was the first important school test I’d ever failed, but it was actually a wonderful stroke of luck, as the Dalai Lama said, because it woke me up to determining what I wanted to do with my life instead of following a path of what other people told me I’d be good at.
It may not feel like it, but sometimes failure can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.