Whether it is an exam, a business, an interview or just any other venture, failure is not something desirable.
But sometimes it happens.
And when it does, it comes along with valuable lessons.
However, whether we will profit from failure or not, depends on how we respond. If you respond positively every time you fail, by consciously picking yourself up, and sincerely trying to avoid a repeat, then you will notice the advantages failure brings along.
Here are five of the benefits failure offers:
#1. It Helps You to Know What Will Not Work
Before Thomas Edison succeeded with the invention of a light bulb, he had failed at several attempts.
In an 1890 interview in Harper’s Monthly Magazine, Edison said,
“‘I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed three thousand different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory.'”
But Edison knew that failure had its positives.
So, when his friend and associate Walter Mallory, asked him, ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on him like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!'”
#2. It Helps You to See What You Are Missing, Neglecting or Ignoring
When you fail and you honestly decide to figure out what made you stumble, you will suddenly begin to see things in a clearer light. You will discover things you never observed to be crucial. You will realize what you neglected or ignored and you will notice what the missing link was.
By the time your next attempt is due, you’ll realize you are better prepared.
Not only that, you now possess information that makes you a valuable resource because you know what must be given attention to for failure to be avoided.
#3. It Provides You the Opportunity to Become Better
As you genuinely make efforts to avoid a repeat failure, you inevitably become better.
Assuming you failed a course in school for instance, you find yourself getting better and more knowledgeable at it as you work diligently to prevent another failure.
If you failed at a competition, or didn’t deliver a speech well, as you strive to excel in the subsequent edition, you see yourself improving by the day.
#4. It Gives You Experience that Proves Handy for You and Others Later
Sometimes when we fail, it just happens to be a blessing in disguise for us (and for others) in later situations.
That episode of failure and the lessons it taught you often sticks to your memory; and so, it helps you to confront similar situations in time to come.
Meanwhile, because experiential knowledge is very powerful and convincing, your experience can help the other person know how to scale his or her own hurdle.
Once you tell someone, ‘It once happened to me or I have done it before’, it sends a very striking message.
#5. It Prepares You for the Big Stage
Every path in life has different stages. For everything we fail at, there will always be a bigger stage ahead.
When a student fumbles in a test, it is just to help him avoid failure in the exams – which is a bigger stage.
By giving us a smaller embarrassment early on, failure saves us from shame on the big one. It motivates us to prepare hard to avoid a repeat embarrassment when more eyes will be watching and the stakes are higher.
That’s what happened to me back in high school. A humbling failure at a lower class helped me avoid a repeat 3 years after.
It was the big stage. And it felt good to excel there.
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Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.