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Why You NEED To Experience Failure To Succeed


Why being afraid of failure will never make you successful.

When we list our desires, wants and life goals, we often omit "failure." We must fail if we are to risk living passionate lives. We live in a culture that has become soft, in that it conditions us to seek comfort and avoid discomfort. There is a lack of appreciation for the wisdom that hardship bestows. There is an illusion that it is possible to live in a world where things come easily and failure can be avoided, and if your life is not "this ideal," there is something is wrong with you. We will naturally take the path of least resistance, clinging to the familiar, staying within our restricted safe places in an attempt to control the outcome.

Winston Churchill said, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." This great wartime leader got ousted after the war. So, the rewards for becoming a fuller, more complete, human being may not come externally, and if they do the rewards may be temporary, as it was in Churchill’s case. We need to be able to acknowledge, and value our courage and resilience during crisis. When our sense of worthiness is established from within, we are not at the mercy of what others do, or think!

Many of us come into adulthood ill prepared to have a full life. The opportunity resulting from failure is the potential for us to grow into more complete human beings. However, not all of us grow as the result of failure. Some who experience failure give up, and never fully recover. They become too fragile inside to get up off their knees.

Over the years I have seen many women and men in crisis. Often they are facing their first failure or crises in their thirties and are overwhelmed. Their life up to this point appeared to be charmed. They thought they had been spared the usual “storms of life” as if they had an “escape hatch” in their corner. Their belief systems fueled expectations that they would be exempt from the usual struggles of life. They have assured me that they have done all the "right things" to preclude crises in their lives. Their list may include getting good grades, going to the "right college," marrying the "right man," having a career or starting a family within a certain time.

That list of "right things" does not provide the required underpinnings or the tools necessary to fortify when problems do hit. The accepted tendency has been to stay in a comfort zone, clinging to the status quo and filling all the boxes as if it were real life. Often reflection on life has not been a part of their experience. Instead of using a setback as an opportunity to learn, to question, and grow, many will numb themselves with TV, self medicate with alcohol, drugs or food.

The media, through powerful marketing, portrays individuals as never having to deal with the adversities of daily living. They are presented as physically perfect, never lacking love or companionship, having plenty of confidence and feeling quite secure. The lie goes as follows: It is possible to live in an ideal world where everything comes easy, and unpleasant experiences, as well as failure, are non-existent. When we accept what is marketed as "real" and compare ourselves to what is being presented, we are left wanting. It is a snapshot frozen in time, not authentic, it has no life! An illusion superimposed on real life.

When a crisis occurs many become rigid and more deeply entrenched in false beliefs. The acceptance of limiting beliefs, in order to stay within their comfort zone, is sad.

Some people shirk responsibility for the condition of their lives, jobs, relationships, and other actions. They blame their pain on others and do not examine their roles in the systems of which they are a part. Others shrink their immediate world in order to make it more manageable. All of these beliefs are equally fragile and false.

Whenever we want to manifest something new in our lives, it has to go through a process. It is analogous to baby learning to walk. What an act of courage. A baby takes a step forward, falls sideways, pulls up, two steps forward, falls backwards etc. Visualize the process. Pretty soon the baby is taking off. If we waited until we become adults to walk, many of us would still be on our knees. We would fear failure.

Everything we change in our lives goes through such steps to some degree. Give yourself permission to go backwards, forwards, sideways and to fail. Approach undertakings as if you were learning a new instrument; you’ll have to focus and practice for quite a while, before you manifest recitals. Overcoming entrenched habits, behaviors, and beliefs take time as you are essentially rewiring your brain.

In all of our lives, there will be failure. Temporarily we may forget that there were good times. However, when we accept that failure is a part of the process of living and learn from the experience, we become more than we could have been without failure. We are then in a place of trusting ourselves to create the life we want. The life we manifest may have darkness at times, but it will be one we can fully live, an authentic passionate life!

"I know the path: it is straight and narrow. It is like the edge of a sword. I rejoice to walk on it. I weep when I slip. God’s word is: He who strives never perishes. I have implicit faith in that promise, though, therefore from my weakness I fail a thousand times, I will not lose faith”….Gandhi, 1980

Laura’s “Overcome Obstacles and Have an Incredible Life“ offers boundless guidance, addresses doubts, fears and uncertainties that  may be keeping you stuck and wondering if you have missed your chance to be happy. You have not!  Read or hear more at

This article was originally published at Laura B. Young. Reprinted with permission from the author.


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