Failure is good for you. Think I’m kidding? I’m totally serious. It stings very bitterly at first, and the humiliation lasts for awhile, but the end result is good. I believe a person cannot be truly successful until they have failed at least once in their life.
I recently failed at something. I don’t remember failing at something so big and important before. I believe I contributed to most of my failure. I was burned out and decided to go easy on my important project. But I believed I had done a fairly good job. It wasn’t my best, but it was good enough. When I received feedback from my supervisor, it communicated to me that it was almost a failure. Almost was equitable to failure in my book. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t remember a time when I had done so poorly. I felt like a mockery and a fraud. The first thing I was tempted to do was to tell everyone I wasn’t good at what I do. That, in fact, I was really a failure. And that’s when I realized the three reasons why failure is good for us.
1. Growing in Humility
The first good thing failure brought about in me was the character trait of humility. I was truly humbled to the point that I felt it important to let others know about my imperfections. Covering it up would equate to me living a lie. And I also recognized that my lack of effort had affected my representation as a Christian. I was completely remorseful for disappointing God through my actions. I remembered that, as Christians, we must always do our best to point others to our Lord.
2. Increased Work Ethic
Recognizing that I didn’t glorify the Lord in my actions brought about the second good thing: the drive to work harder. Receiving a poor performance report on my project allowed me to take a step back and realize that I needed to work harder the next chance I got. Instead of giving up, I mustered the strength to push forward and do better.
3. Setting a New Path
As all these feelings overwhelmed me, I was able to recognize that failure is good because it leads to the path of success. It was difficult to overcome the shame and humiliation I felt. It haunted me for weeks. And yet through the experience of failure, I remembered that a lot of people who are now considered successful went through a lot of failures to get to that point. Some failures are self-induced, such as mine, and others are not. But regardless, failure is a part of life, and it’s part of the path to success. It’s not only part of the path, it’s one of the most important steps to success.
Without failure, a person cannot be truly humble.
Without failure, determination cannot truly exist.
Without failure, one cannot truly appreciate the rewards of their efforts.
Failure is a refining process that God allows us to go through for our good. That’s not to say we should purposely fail. But if we find ourselves in a situation where we have caused ourselves to fail, then we can ask for forgiveness and look forward to the good results that come from a refining process.
Failure is something everyone goes through. It shouldn’t keep us down for good. When we recognize the benefits and importance of failure in life, we will better be able to embrace it and move on, instead of dwelling on how we feel or how others will perceive us.
Believe me, everyone knows you’re not perfect and that you won’t always succeed at whatever you do in life. They will recognize that you are human and will remember how you handle these bumps in the road.
Did you get right back up as if it were nothing? Or did you cloister yourself away in self-pity? Your attitude toward life’s failures may determine someone else’s response. Let them be encouraged by your good example.
Ashlea Massie received her B.A. and M.A. in English. She currently teaches high school English to homeschooled students. Ashlea spends her free time freelance writing and blogging on her blog, Ever Upward, at everupward-