Failure is a stepping stone to success

Published by Kevin Kiggundu on

Photo by Jukan Tateisi at Unsplash

What comes to your mind when you think of failure?

Dread, I’m sure.

You don’t want to fail. I don’t want to fail.

No one wants to fail.

But why?

Why is failure so terrible?

You probably don’t remember off the top of your head because it’s been so long.

The Beginning

From a tender age, we’re pummeled – both physically and mentally – into seeing failure as a reason for shame.

Your sibling, classmate, or neighbor doing something better than you would result in your parents or teachers asking why you can’t be as good as your colleague.

On to the outdated education system, where failure to solve a math problem, or recall the name of Napoleon’s uncle’s horse, is seen as a lack of intelligence.

We grow up seeing failure as a terrible thing; something to be avoided at all costs.

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Subsequently, we live our lives afraid to fail.

Afraid to try.

Where does that leave us?

So many people are trapped; living lives they hate, and unable to do anything about it because they have to stay in the “safe” zone: 

Go to school, study a marketable course, get a job and have a “guaranteed” monthly paycheck, conform to the rules of society, and live out your days in a nice house with your spouse and kids.

Prodigious talent wastes away like that, trapped in a cage.

Ultimately, we’re left with wishful thinking and questions of “what if ?…” in our old age – when we realize what could have been, had we not been afraid

What if I’d pursued my talent instead of wasting away at that desk job, bowing to a boss I hated?

What if I’d taken a chance on that idea I had instead of being afraid of being laughed at?

Photo by Juan Rumimpunu at Unsplash

Failure is a teacher.

It shows you the limits of your current capabilities so you know where you need to improve.

It can also be a guide, after multiple attempts and thorough self-examination, telling you to quit that particular train and try something else.

We’re all gifted differently.

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking its stupid” — Einstein.

There should be no pre-defined parameters for judging a person’s intelligence and abilities.

We’re all intelligent and gifted; it’s just a matter of finding your niche.

That sector where you feel happiest working, knowing you can express yourself and unleash your full range of talent and creativity.

So try.

Try anything and everything.

Find what you love and go with it.

Fail many times, without fear, as you move forward on your path.

Learn from every setback.

For if you analyze your failures, you’ll find areas you can improve and do better.

And when you do it constantly, you evolve; becoming more knowledgeable and efficient at your craft.

This will not only bring you success, but also true happiness and self-fulfillment.

Because you’re doing what you love.

Photo by Bao Truong on Unsplash

Encourage your children too.

Support your children as they pursue their dreams.

Don’t hold them back because you think you know best.

The truth is, secretly you may be trying to use them to fulfill your own unachieved dreams.

This is unfair because you had your own chance at life, and your current reality – whether happy or unhappy – is where your decisions led you.

So let your kids live their own lives. Chase their own goals. Excel at what they love.

Teach them to embrace failure, experiment, and push until they get it right.

An expert is someone who has made all possible mistakes in a given field.

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