The 7 Powerful Reasons Why It’s Great to Fail

Gavin Williams
6 min readFeb 16, 2023

Failure. It stinks. When you’ve tried everything, given your all, and it didn’t work. You failed.

“Oh, the shame! It’s so frustrating!” You ask yourself “How do I move on from this?”

There’s something very human about our need to be right and to succeed. But there’s no shame in failure. Failure shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Instead, it’s a brilliant and necessary part of every road to success. So, let’s flip the view on failure.

Let me share with you the 7 reasons why it’s GREAT to fail!

1: Mistakes are your road map to success

If you achieve your goal on the first attempt, then was it really all that meaningful?

Goals of true value take some chasing and they don’t come easy. Every mistake you make towards achieving it counts as a step in the right direction.

Think of failures as steppingstones along the path to success.

With every effort you learn something new about what works and what doesn’t. That’s why mistakes are so important. You learn more in defeat than in victory. So, every mistake made along the way counts as a fresh iteration and a chance to rebuild. To make the next attempt better than the last. Like counting off roads on a map. There’s plenty of roads, but only some that’ll take you where you want to go and fewer still that will get you there in the quickest and best way.

Take loads of roads and learn from your mistakes along the way.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

— Thomas Edison

2: Perfectionism = Paralysis

A fear of failure can create a sense of perfectionism in us. We want to keep adjusting and tweaking the product or process to make it better and better. We think If we take a little longer to complete this project then it’ll be perfect. And if it’s perfect then it’s bound to be a success.

“Just one more change then it’s ready. I will unveil my masterpiece!”

But…there’s always going to be something that may need or could benefit from another round of editing. So where do you draw the line?

Worse still, we want it to be perfect so badly that we don’t even get started at all.

Perfection paralysis can freeze you in your tracks before you’ve even begun and constant need for perfection means your project or new career stays parked. Permanently. Guess what, that’s worse than having something that isn’t perfect.

Oh, and by the way — perfect doesn’t exist!

Stop chasing unicorns and get to it already.

“You’ll always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

— Wayne Gretzky

3: Deeper Learning

If we’re concentrating on being right and avoiding mistakes, then we tend to learn at a simpler level.

Failure happens most when people focus on the results and not the processes at work. If people spend their time looking at the tip of the iceberg (results) then they’re missing the gigantic chunk of ice (knowledge and method) underneath the surface.

Guess what? By investing more time learning the workings of the machine you’ll be in a much better position to create the results you desire.

Focus on the process and not the outcome.

Ignore the need to be right and focus on the need to learn.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

— Alexander Pope

4: Feedback is your friend

Feedback can be hard to hear sometimes. If we’ve spent ages working on something and finally feel ready to show the world and the world isn’t all that impressed (GASP!) How do we handle that?

Well, feedback can come in many shapes and forms. It can be the formal feedback of a teacher or mentor. It can be the words of family or friends whose opinion you trust. It can appear completely out of nowhere when someone hits you with a lightbulb moment.

Not all feedback is created equally so choose your audience. The internet age has given anyone the opportunity to voice their opinion about anything. Think of the source of the feedback and how much value you need to place in it. Of course, that’s not to say that feedback from a stranger which happens to be negative (or shall we say, constructive?) should always be ignored. They may have seen it from an angle you hadn’t managed to and captured something that makes you rethink.

In the opposite sense, don’t put yourself in a little echo chamber of kindness.

It’s the feedback that forces you to take stock and start again that really matters.

When you get used to seeing feedback as a tool rather than a criticism then it becomes your best friend. You won’t fear the feedback of others, you’ll look forward to it!

Remember that to change your mind and to accept correction are free acts.

“There is no failure. Only feedback.”

— Robert Allen

5: Failure keeps us humble

Oh boy, our egos love success! They puff out their chests and act like the big dog when they’re right.

Sure, it’s great to be right when you can. It’s fantastic to be successful. But the world isn’t built to only give you success. For every successful person there’s a million times they failed on the way. We see the outcomes of success without seeing all the times they were knocked down and had to get back up again.

The truth is, failing keeps you humble. And humble is good. Humble ensures you have a get-to-it mindset and you don’t get lazy. Humble helps you set realistic expectations for an outcome. Valuing your skills without overshooting them. Humble makes you a better communicator and team player. Nobody likes the “Hey, look how good I am” person. They don’t play well with others.

A humble person takes the feedback and uses it as a tool for improvement. They expect to fail because it’s a part of the process.

“I never lose. I either win or I learn.”

— Nelson Mandela

6: Failure makes you more resilient

When you’ve reached the point where you’ve accepted failure is a part of success you grow a thicker skin. If failures are not only useful but inevitable then your challenge is building a way of coping with them. Resilience is the key to handling failure. It’s the tool you can use to take a negative and turn it in to a positive.

When you have this strategy under your belt you’re better prepared for every pursuit, for many reasons. Firstly, because you feel happy showing the world before your work is ‘perfect’. No longer stuck in the cycle of perfectionism and fear of feedback you get on with the task at hand. Secondly, you anticipate (and dare I say look forward to) failure because it’s a necessary step to future success. Thirdly, the inevitable failure and feedback don’t use up your time and emotional energy meaning you can get straight back to work.

So, stay resilient my friends — it’s all going to help you in the end.

“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”

— Pema Chodron

7: We can forgive others when they’re wrong

This is a simple one. But it can have a big effect on your ability to learn from others and to build better relationships.

If you know how it feels to be wrong, to fail at something, then you will have much greater sympathy, patience and understanding for others when it’s their turn.

We’ve seen in ourselves how easy it is to be wrong despite our best efforts, so maybe we can see that other people really are trying their best too.

Go easy on them. Maybe even lend them a hand. You could learn something for yourself in the process.

“It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.”

— Jessamyn West

These seven powerful messages can transform your whole attitude to failure and in doing so will transform your attitude to success. It’s the healthy and consistent relationship between failure and success that makes the ride worth taking. Like two sides of a coin you will never get one without the other (don’t let people tell you otherwise).

My final advice to you…

Go fail like a boss!

Every step will take you closer to your destination.

Thanks for reading my friends — Gavin

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