5 Reasons Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing

In this blog I am going to explore why failure is actually beneficial and an essential part of self-development. As Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress”. The great scientist knew, encountering our fears and failures prompts us to make important changes in our lives and our businesses. Before we start, I just want to point out that “failure” isn’t a word I use too often. It’s harsh, negative and not an accurate reflection of the situation that occurred.

What is Failure?

The OED definition of failure is “a lack of success”, which I think is so harsh as everyone has their own picture of what success should be. The other problem with the word failure is the negative connotations we have put on it, such as being a let-down, unworthy or useless. 

I bet like me, there are a hundred things you have failed at!  Mine failing my AS levels and a failed business venture with my dad. But then again, I have also accomplished so much, and I bet you have too!

We are not defined by our failures, but rather how they help shape us into a better version of ourselves. Many of us get hung up on failure, or even just the thought of failure, and it can be so debilitating that it stops us from trying again and living the life we want to.

However, I strongly believe that failure is a good thing and that we could all do with a healthy dose of it once in a while.

How Can We Benefit From Failure?

Here are 5 reasons why failure is actually beneficial.

Failure benefit 1: It provides a reality check on where we are at

Failure benefit 2: The lessons learned are priceless

Failure benefit 3: This isn’t a “one-shot only” world – just do better next time

Failure benefit 1: It provides a reality check on where we are at

Failure benefit 2: The lessons learned are priceless

Failure benefit 3: This isn’t a “one-shot only” world – just do better next time

Failure benefit 4: It builds strength of character

Failure benefit 5: It realigns you to your goals

How I learned from failure

Failure benefit 1: It provides a reality check on where we are at

When I failed my AS levels I was devastated. I knew I had messed up. My dream since I was young was be the first person my family to go to university. I knew that if I didn’t get good A-level grades I would lose my chance. However, why did I fail my AS levels if university was something I had longed for the past 4 years?!

Put simply, I wasn’t in the right mind frame. I was going through some personal issues & I wasn’t happy, and that was having a knock-on effect on my ability to study.

Sometimes failing at something, even if you truly desire it, is an indication that something isn’t right elsewhere.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing bar Sihanoukville Cambodia
I learnt priceless lessons from my failed investment in a bar in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Failure benefit 2: The lessons learned are priceless

Failure can be a useful way to shine a light to reveal what is really going on with your situation and what needs addressing. Many years ago, my parents and I bought a guesthouse & bar in Cambodia, with a friend of my dad’s as a partner in the venture. This was the expat’s dream of sun, sea and serving drinks to happy holiday makers & fellow westerners who have escaped the rat race. Bliss.

However, just 9 months down the line, we had lost our investment & sold our share. We cut our losses and got out. Our dream had already gone.

So how did it go sour so quickly? In hindsight, it was because we didn’t manage it as well as we should have.  We hadn’t put the right systems in place. We didn’t  establish the ground rules and expectations with our partner, and problem after problem meant that our profit was being eaten into.

After the initial hurt and anger, I came to realise that the lessons learned from this “failure” are priceless. I learned a great deal about carving out a business plan, forging a successful business partnership and how the small details in business matter.

If I could turn back time, would I do this all again? Hell yes! I learned more with the failure of the guesthouse & bar than I ever would from a guru’s “how-to” business book. Failure gives you an opportunity to learn from your mistaken actions and do what’s right the next time around.

Failure benefit 3: This isn’t a “one-shot only” world – just do better next time

Luckily for us, we live in a prosperous world, one where there isn’t just one opportunity to do anything. There are always second chances. Sometimes third. For Edison, there were 1,000 chances to invent the light bulb! If you fail once, then try again. Just don’t be foolish enough to make the same mistakes again.

When I was younger and new to the property game, I made the cardinal sin of being too soft, not collecting rent and being too lenient. The month’s rolled on and I hadn’t received any rent from my tenant. One year later, a looming court case, an emotional roller-coaster and £5,000 down, I had well and truly “failed”. However, will I ever make this mistake again? No. Was that my only business opportunity? No.

Failure teaches us to learn from our mistakes so that the next time we can avoid making the same ones. There will be another time too – this world is full of second chances and opportunities, just don’t be too blinded from the hurt of your previous failure to see them. The benefit of failure is that you can do better next time.

Alice Dartnell Life Reasons Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing rainbow over Sheffield
Failure teaches us to learn from our mistakes so next time we can avoid making the same ones.
Failure benefit 4: It builds strength of character

Anyone can look the hero when times are good, but how do you measure up when the going gets tough? Do you crumble like a sandcastle or do you stand your ground and keep smiling, focusing on where you want to be? Take a moment to think about that before you consider yourself a “failure”.

Going through a failure is a remarkable test of your character, your courage, your determination and your mindset. I truly believe that it isn’t until you’ve been through the worst, that you can truly appreciate the best. Failure is kind of like a benchmark. It will show you what you are made of, and trust me, you are tougher than you realise.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing bar Sihanoukville Cambodia
The failure of my bar business in Sihanoukville gave me the opportunity to recess my goals
Failure benefit 5: It realigns you to your goals

Time moves, circumstances change, and goals shift. One benefit of failure is that it gives you a chance to reassess your goals and where you want to go. Whatever your goal, you are going to experience hurdles and set backs along the way. I haven’t met one person who thinks you can cruise your way to success just by being lucky!

Always use ‘failure’ as a natural milestone to check in with your long-term goals and assess. Ask, is this really what I really want? Am I prepared to put in the hard work? What mistakes have I made that I can learn from?

If your goal has changed, that is okay. Now is your chance to amend it. If you’re not willing to push on after your failure, then you know the goal is not something you really want. If your goal is the same, fantastic – use the failure to spur you on.

Those Who Have Failed Before They Became Successful

If you think that those who “made it” were lucky or had success handed to them on a plate, then think again. There are so many famous success-over-failure stories. My favourite story is Sylvester Stallone’s.

Sylvester Stallone had it rough as child, being taunted in school and constantly in and out of foster homes. As an adult, things didn’t improve as he was unable to earn a steady income, and even had to sell his dog for $25.00 to help pay his electricity bill.  It was only 2 weeks after selling his dog that he wrote the Rocky script in nearly 20 hours straight. After being rejected over 1,500 times, Stallone was given a nod by United Artists for $125,000 BUT only if Stallone would NOT star in it. Stallone refused.

Even when he was subsequently offered $250,000 and $325,000, he still refused as he wanted to star in it. He finally reached a compromise, starring in the film but only taking $35,000 and a percentage of profits as a concession.

The first thing Stallone bought with the money he earned was his beloved English Mastiff dog Butkus. Stallone had to pay $15,000 for the same dog he sold at $25! However, I am sure he could afford it seeing as Rocky grossed over $200,000,000 and his sequels grossed over a billion dollars!!

Never Quit!

Further Reading

Failure is actually beneficial and an essential part of self-development. Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress”. Read  my article 5 Tips How to Bounce Back From Failure ASAP, to understand how to bounce back when you think that you have failed.

Self-Sabotaging. Are you a secret self-sabotager? Me too! Read my blog article 3 tips on how to stop self-sabotaging for my essential hard-learned top tips for how to stop self-sabotaging today.

Habits are what gets you success and my blog 4 Insanely easy ways to create good habits explains four insanely easy ways to start creating good habits.

Work towards you goals in easy bit by bit using the compound-effect of the Law of the Slight Edge. In a nutshell, the Slight Edge is the law that everything adds up bit by bit. The actions we take will move us either towards our goals or away from them.  Learn more about the Law of the Slight Edge in my ground-breaking article 5 Essential tips to achieve your goals in 2020.

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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com

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This blog is published  by Alice Dartnell Limited solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.