Failure is more important than Success.
It may seem strange at first but when we contemplate success we also need to contemplate the value of failure, there are too many books and self help courses that simply tell you that positive thinking, effective goal setting and working hard is all you need to be successful, I’d like to propose that their are times in life and in business when failure is far more important than success.
Everyone knows that a fair degree of start-up companies fail, however did you know that the truth is even bleaker than this because the fact is 9 out of 10 start-ups fail, a lot of these companies put in the hard work and most of them have a business plan, it’s just that failure sometimes happens.
In life failure rate tends to be higher than what we think, in most things failure happens more often than success, success can take time and success can take multiple attempts so what we need is a mindset where failure will not be the almighty devastating blow that it could be for some people.
The best football player in the World Lionel Messi takes about 4 shots every match and of these only 20% of these shots score a goal, and he’s a great player, but looking at these statistics he’s also great at failing to hit the target.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career; I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over in my life. And that’s why I succeed”. – Michael Jordan
Looking beyond these facts, few of us know that each time Jordan missed or if was dropped from the team he then went back to the practise court and tried harder, he used failure to spur him on, it made him better, and he learned from it whereas a missed shot could destroy the career of a player with a different mindset.
Jordan practised and practised, failure made him practice more than success would have done. With this practice he set himself up to win, to take the shot, to jump higher, to be quicker, to be more skilful and to be ready for the next time so that he wouldn’t fail.
Failure is something to learn from, if we get knocked down, we need to learn from the experience and get back up.
Tennis player Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001, he was unseeded and given a wild card entry to enter the tournament, even his sponsors had lost faith in him, in an interview on BBC Radio 5 live he said;
“My sponsors thought I was going to lose the first round, they sent me just two shirts, I was washing those two shirts after every match, I played the whole of Wimbledon with two shirts and the same socks.”
Goran struggled through the rounds and got to the final, he had already reached the final of Wimbledon three times the last in 1998 where he had lost to Pete Sampras in 5 sets, 2001 was his forth final, he was nearly thirty and in the twilight of his career, he won on his 4th attempt.
Failure helps to build the stamina and resilience and these traits are needed for success, you need to build resilience just like you do a muscle when you exercise, because resilience is what helps you get back up when you get knocked down.
There’s a saying that says ‘there is no such thing as failure there is only feedback’, the paradox is that success teaches you a lot less compared to that of failure.
‘Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be’. – John Wooden
The fact is winners just keep getting back up and as long as you do this failure is just what has happened it is not who you are, and remember this; the most successful people have almost always succeed after they have failed, they just learn, shrug it off and move on.
There are times when failure is more important than success.