He says ‘I don’t want to fail,’ she says ‘I am afraid of failing,’ and they say ‘failure is not a option.’ It seems that no one wants to fail nor likes failing. Our culture defines how we perceive everything that happens to us during our life. Ever since we were little children, we are told repeatedly that getting good grades in school is prideful success compared to getting bad grades which classified us as failures. Because no one is pleased by failure and because no one is ever received gift from Santa Claus for failing, failure is terribly shameful thing to commit. With a little exception, most of us live our lives running away and avoiding from failure and put ridiculously huge effort to do so. Though we put so much effort to live without failing, failure is unavoidable. One of the great minds of our history once said “If you have never failed, you never lived.” Unfortunately, when the ‘inevitable’ happens, most of us just give up and lose hope. Although I, myself, has been raised by the same failing-is-shame principle, I came to understanding that this wasn’t not a true at all. Furthermore, its the very opposite that helps us to be successful and to live our life meaningfully. Failure is not only inevitable in our lives but also it is the single most important aspect of our lives.
As ironic as it may sound, we all start our lives by failing numerous times. No little baby instantly walks on his feet right after he is born. What do we do? As our conscious mind start to makes sense to us, we start feeling the sudden urge to move from one place to another, from mother’s hand to father’s hand. However, we don’t succeed right the way; in fact; it takes at least good ten months or so until we learn to make our first step on our own. What happens in that ten months is called failure. We wanted to walk between those two most beautiful people on earth so badly but it was not an easy task. We fall trying to walk, then we start crawling, and then finally we start making one or two steps with a help of objects or our parents but then we fall repeatedly most of the time. Not only we cry sometimes but also we feel so tired, discouraged and hurt that we can not even move again. However, we didn’t give up because we are so determined to make that first step by ourselves and we are certainly not quitting until that happens. And then as miraculous as it sounds, it happens; we make the first step successfully then the second and not soon after, we are running and jumping. What a triumphant moment to celebrate; we did it successfully after ten treacherous long months. Unfortunately, once we are all grown up, we forgot how miraculous victory we achieved after so many failures and scares ourselves of failure as if it would mark the end of our very short lives. Not only it doesn’t do so but also it is a perfect proof of how we can win over countless failures with our consistent determination. As long as we are fully determined to get what we want or do what we want to do, no matter what happens to us in process of going toward that goal, we will succeed just like the way we took our first step.
Most of the failures teach us the most important lessons in our lives. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t teach us to value failure rather it teaches us to look down on the those who failed. More often than usual, we are so scared of failing because if we fail at school, work or relationship, the society will ridicule us and give us the look of shame. As horrible as it sounds, this destroys our self confidences and forces us to strive for something is not simply not applicable to reality which is to live without a failure. Not so surprisingly, most successful, famous and rich people in our history have the greatest numbers of failures on their accounts. One of the greatest inventor of our times, Thomas Edison failed 9999 times before he invented light bulb and he made his remarkable comment by saying ‘I didn’t fail 9999 times, I only discovered 9999 ways of how not to make light bulb.’ Imagine someone having to go through these many failures and yet saying that he learned things not failed. When we fail, we learn how something is not going to work or not going to help us to get what we want. Furthermore, we exclude what we tried at first and come up with new ways but only this time with more confidence and better chances of succeeding. Jeff Olson wrote in his book “Slight Edge,” if you want to succeed, double your rate of failure. More we fail, better our chances become to getting it right next time; therefore, succeed at last.
In a nutshell, failure teaches us how not to fail to experience the miracles of life and as long as we are determined to succeed, we will succeed not matter how many times we failed. Although, it is hard to resist what society perceives as something not good and shameful, we also need to learn to have confidence in our own belief systems. In other words, if we can’t accept the society’s norms and beliefs, we need to be able say ‘No’ and create our own ways seeing certain events such as failure. Failure is good, perhaps, the greatest thing that we accomplish in our lives and with our unfailing determination and persistence, it becomes the only key factor that makes us successful and gives us a chance to experience extraordinary taste of this life.