“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K.Rowling
You probably read this and wonder what J.K.Rowling, the woman who wrote the infamously successful Harry Potter books, knows about failure? But did you know that 12 publishers rejected the first manuscript of Harry Potter before Bloomsbury finally picked it up? J.K. Rowling must have felt as though she had failed with each rejection. Chances are, those 12 publishers probably felt like failures after the Harry Potter series went on to sell 450 million copies worldwide!
It is becoming harder not to feel like a failure. Thanks to social media and the perfect images people publish of themselves, our expectations are raised of our daily lives and the way that we look. A friend’s Facebook status update, announcing the A* they received in the test, when you only just scraped a pass in the same one, could make you feel like a failure. However, there is usually someone comparing themselves to you in exactly the same way and feeling like a failure as a result. It is a vicious cycle.
For every success story there will be about a dozen stories of failed projects before it. The only way to truly fail is to let the fear of failure or the failure itself defeat you. Going back to the example of a school exam, if you consider your grade a failure, then in order to turn that fail into success you must pull yourself together and study even harder for the next exam. By learning from your own mistakes and putting in the effort you will reach your full potential.
In many cultures the act of failure is actually considered to be a gesture of politeness. By allowing yourself to be imperfect you are showing an act of courtesy to your fellow human beings. To be hugely successful would be considered rude as you would be inspiring feelings of envy and jealously in others. And who really wants to be responsible for that?
Think about some of your favourite celebrities and TV characters, who are the personalities you’re most drawn towards, is it Mr Burns in his mansion of accomplishments and lack of human empathy? Or do you prefer Homer Simpson who often fails but never gives up? When it comes to surrounding yourself with friends wouldn’t you rather be around people who know what it’s like to fail and will be able to help you when you do? By having failed you become more empathetic towards your friends when they fail.
Failure is nothing to be afraid of and it is important to think about the benefits we have mentioned rather than feeling defeated. Time to stop asking yourself ‘what if I fail?’ and start thinking ‘how will I deal with my failure?’