As babies, we failed repeatedly until eventually we learnt the way things worked. But by the time we made it to school, failure was no longer acceptable. If you failed now, you may as well give up – it’s not your jam, try something else. But I think failing is an essential part of life and should be embraced. Here are three reasons why:
1. It makes you relatable
Telling people stories about my failed relationships has made me a lot of friends, a lot!
People love it when you are open with them because it shows that you trust them. They find your willingness to be vulnerable impressive and endearing.
I rarely see people crying because we are all trying to hide our emotions. We tend to wipe our tears away discretely, praying no one saw us. But we have all failed at some point in our lives. By being brave enough to share your failures you put others at ease and able to share their own.
I am always the person in the theatre bawling my eyes out. I remember watching The Light Between Oceans with Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender and almost having to leave because I was sobbing so loudly.
2. You don’t learn life lessons sunbathing
Well I did learn that in Australia two hours of sun without sunscreen will leave you looking a painful shade of red. But that's about it. The sort of life lessons I’m talking about are building a strong work ethic, learning about fulfilling relationships and deciding what to do with your life. These lessons come out of failure and involve sleepless nights and days when all you want to do is lay in bed and cry. The longer you run from these lessons the harder they will be to learn. I once got fired from a cafe in Barbican, London because I couldn't carry two plates at once. I learnt to accept this failure and move on.
So many people have it in their minds that life should always be peachy. That’s their ideal and anything that doesn’t align needs to be eliminated. But life isn’t always smooth – relationships break down, your investments tank, you lose your job. If you haven’t embraced failure (and learnt from it) then the hits are ten times harder.
3. Because Will Smith said it
I am a HUGE Fresh Prince of Bel Air fan, so Will Smith is pretty much a God for me. Will also knows a thing or two about the power of failure:
“You’ve gotta take a shot, you have to live at the edge of your capabilities. You gotta live where you’re almost certain you’re going to fail. Failure actually helps you to recognize the areas where you need to evolve. So, fail early, fail often, fail forward.”
Failure is only as painful as you let it be. When you start embracing it then you can start improving. You can watch the full video of Will here.
If life feels boring to you right now it’s probably because you aren’t pushing your boundaries and giving yourself the chance to fail. Failure is a temporary state on the road to achieving your goals. It only becomes permanent if you stop trying. What's your best lesson from a failure?