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Failure: The Stepping Stone To Success

Bogdan is a Sports and Physical Education student, football player and a person on his way of becoming the strongest version of himself.

Definition Of Failure

Generally speaking, failure represents that moment when you don't succeed in accomplishing something you wanted be it materialistic, spiritual or emotional.

Taking it more specifically there is no actual definition of failure because every person has its own definition of this term and each one of us thinks of failure differently. For some people failure is represented by poor performance, a break up, going bankrupt, being bullied, being rejected by a girl, not getting that car you wanted. For others it means getting injured, getting hit by a car, being misunderstood or getting a depression.

Now, you may ask why is getting injured or getting hit by a car a failure? After all it wasn't your fault that someone fell asleep while driving or that someone injured you intentionally.

Aaaaand.....YOU ARE RIGHT!

What I want to say is that a lot of people take those experiences personally. Some of them consider that they should've been more reactive or more careful while others expect everything to be under their control and that is certainly not the case in this world.


What is even worse, most people start to identify as failures after that kind of shocking experiences. They feel like they've disappointed everyone including themselves.

This doesn't mean that we should play the victim role just because we can't control certain situations or things. We just need to focus on what we can control and give our best to becoming better and better everyday and soon we'll be able to control a lot more things in our life.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

Fear Of Failure

What are people going to say?

What if I embarrass myself?

What if I get rejected?

These are some of the questions that we encounter the most when it comes to taking action towards our dreams. Where do this questions come from and why are they always trying to sabotage us?

Well, most of them come from the environment we grew up in and the environment we live in at the moment.

Since in our childhood our parents were our closest human beings, we were taught what our limits are based on their limits.We all know the general affirmations of parents. Don't dress like this because people will think you are poor or arrogant. Don't do sport anymore because you're going to fall and break your leg. Why bother to build your own business when 95% of them fail in the first five years?

On top of that, they pressure us with their expectations like getting good grades, getting a safe and well-paid job that will get you a good retirement plan and so on. Basically they're in control of our lives and because of this we tend to identify ourselves with their limitations so we don't even try to reach higher than that because we are afraid to not disappoint them and to not become a disgrace for them.

Now, I'm not saying that those parents are bad people, after all they want the best for us but because they somehow didn't managed to accomplish their goals they think that there is no other way of doing that or maybe they got the same limitations and principles from their parents who lived in a period where a lot of the possibilities that exist today were unheard of.

Another reason why we fear failure is school. More specifically getting the "right" answer the first time otherwise you get low grades and then you disappoint your parents which then produces the fear of speaking and answering a question so you don't say something wrong. Such a beautiful vicious circle!

Last but not least, as you get older maybe you get the courage to go after your dreams and put in the work but this happens....

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"Knock knock.

Who's there?


Sounds familiar?

Soon all our friends, teammates, family members and even business partners start telling us to stop trying. Entrepreneurship is only for extroverted people, you need a lot of luck to become the CEO, you can't get a living by dancing or writing.

You can see how our environment is crucial when it comes to our success but let me tell you something. Every time you face this kind of limitations and fear becomes so vivid that it purely paralyzes you just remember this words said by J.K. Rowling...

"Some failure is inevitable in life. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default."

Famous Failures

We've seen what failure is, how fear of failure appears in our life and how it starts to control us. Now let's see if there are any successful persons that failed before reaching success.

  • Michael Jordan- now widely regarded as the best basketball player of all times, he once locked himself in his room and cried after he was cut from his high school basketball team. His mom convinced him to push forward (speaking of supportive parents) and then he recognized that this failure motivated him to work harder saying: “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it”.
  • Sylvester Stallone- his movie script "Rocky" grossed $200 million at the box office but until that Stallone's life wasn't that sweet. During his birth doctors severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of his face, his parents divorced when he was 9, his first starring role was in pornography, had to sleep in a bus terminal for three weeks, got rejected thousands of times by everyone in the film industry and at his lowest point he had to sell his dog for only $25.
  • Thomas Edison- at the time of his death his name was holding 1,093 patents, being responsible for much of the technologies we take for granted. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before succeeding to invent the electric bulb. When asked by a reporter how he felt after so many failures he responded with the following phrase: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
  • Jack Ma- co-founder of Alibaba Group, one of the the largest e-commerce businesses in the world and the richest man in China with an estimated wealth of $40B. He failed a key primary school for two times, three times for the middle school, failed to get into university for three years, rejected from Harvard for 10 times, applied for jobs for 30 times including police and even KFC but still got rejected.
  • Colonel Harland Sanders- Until the age of 65 Colonel Sanders only performed odd jobs and failed in multiple businesses. He then set out his famous chicken recipe and with $105 in his pocket he started looking for people that believed in his idea. He got rejected 1,009 times before someone accepted his offer of what is now known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Final Thought

Failure is kind of demonized in today's society and in my opinion this happens because of our egos. We want to be seen as successful and thriving persons but failure doesn't belong in this story that has been spread through generations. Failure is seen as a weakness.
Instead, we need to retrain our brains so that we learn to embrace failure, get out of our comfort zone and stop being afraid of trying new things and new experiences.

That's what the most successful people on the planet do everyday and it looks like they have it REAL GOOD!

© 2019 Hacicu Bogdan


Hacicu Bogdan (author) from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on August 27, 2019:

Thank you for your interest, Linda!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 27, 2019:

This is an interesting and inspirational article. Thank you for sharing the information. Your statements and conclusions about failure and success make a lot of sense.

Hacicu Bogdan (author) from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on August 07, 2019:

I'm glad that a qualified psychologist approves the information in this article.

Thank you for your interest, Lorna Lamon!

Lorna Lamon on August 07, 2019:

This is a well written article highlighting failure and the fear of failing. I treat people with this fear which is a phobia known as 'Atychiphobia', and sadly it is on the increase. Thank you for sharing.

Hacicu Bogdan (author) from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on May 13, 2019:

@Frances Metcalfe glad that you found this helpful and it reminded you of another information on this topic, which ultimately makes it easier for you to become more aware of its practicality.

Frances Metcalfe from The Limousin, France on May 12, 2019:

There is a lot in what you say. In fact I heard a book read on the radio by Ranulf FIennes about the fear of failure which was truly inspirational - put your fear aside and you can achieve great things.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 07, 2019:

A very well written and valuable article and an important read for everyone. Success and failure are part of our lives. We must consciously develop a positive attitude, if case of failures, to try again, may be differently, till we finally achieve success.

I agree with your title, that the failures should be taken as stepping stone. And should be treated as a learning process.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful and insightful article.

Hacicu Bogdan (author) from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on May 03, 2019:

@Dr Pran Rangan, I think most of them became obsessed with accomplishing their goals and the only way of reaching there for them was through persistence and a "never give up" mindset.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on May 03, 2019:

Thanks Hacicu for sharing a nice hub.

There is not even a single person who hasn't had a failure. But few face failures boldly and move on. Such people have an inherent mindset that propels them towards their goal. What is interesting is that one can develop such a positive mindset.

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