Learning from Failure

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When people ask me to mentor their teens and college students, one of the topics that I discuss with them is the importance of experiencing failure, and learning how to fail. The importance of failure should not be underestimated, and failure can teach many valuable lessons that make an individual a better and more successful person in the future. Of course failing is not something that you should strive for, but when it happens you should not be afraid to learn from it. If you never experience failure in life then you cannot grow as a person. Many famous and well-respected people through history have recognized the importance of failure in life, and have been quoted on this topic.

Abraham Lincoln once said:

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”'

According to a quote that has been attributed to Bill Gates “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Failure in life can be the motivator that is needed for success and achievement later on. Each person should always be looking for ways to grow, and to strive to be a better person. Experiencing failure is an critical to that process. How one handles failure is equally important. When you fail, it is important to evaluate why the failure occurred and then learn from the lessons that your failure can teach you. The next time you attempt the same task or activity this insight will help you reach success.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America, once said

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”

Famous quotes about the importance of failure in life are not just from those in the past. Modern celebrities and famous people have also talked about the importance of failure and why these teaching moments matter so much. One of my children is a huge basketball fan, so I will end with a quote from one of the best basketball players ever – a quote credited to Michael Jordan states:

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.”

A fear of failure in life could cause you never to try, and you cannot win the game if you do not get out there and play.
Some questions to consider:

  • Why do you think failure in life is important? What can this teach you for the future?
  • When was the last time you failed at something, and what lessons did you learn from this?
  • Do you want to give up when you have a failure in life or do you consider this a teaching moment that helps you grow?
  • How have you grown as a result of failures you have experienced in your life?
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