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Perception Of Failure

Updated on January 19, 2015

Failure a friend to success

When I think about the word “Failure”; it reminds me of my family when I was in primary school that my cousins and I should try by all means not fail. They threatened us that should we fail; we won’t get Christmas gifts such as clothes and toys. One of my cousins failed Grade 4 and he felt extremely shameful, he felt like a loser. The perception that they gave us about “Failure” is that it should be avoided at all costs which resulted in fearing to fail.

My first experience pain of failure was in Grade 12; I felt depressed and embarrassed; I did not know how deal with a pain. My family was disappointed but fortunately I did not think about committing suicide. Today I see many students committing suicide because of pressure from parents and peer pressure that other students passed; and they are going to Tertiary. I came to realise that “Failure” is stepping stone to success; that if I am willing to succeed in life then I must be willing to fail. True failure is when you fail to try.

The true perception of “Failure” should be seen as feedback from the universe. If we do so, we’ll see “Failure” as necessary for instruction rather than as an instrument for destruction. If it is seen as instruction, we will seek to learn and grow from it and as a result, post-failure, we will be better and not bitter.

When I was at Tertiary doing second year, I failed a major subject and I know that I gave it all preparing for exams but I failed; yes, I was very disappointed and I even questioned my abilities and started to doubt myself. I had to do self evaluation, trying to identify areas that I need to improve in order to comeback with a strategy of passing this major subject. I had to learn to manage my time efficiently to stay on top of the game. Success won’t come without making an effort.

Sometimes things beyond our control happen and we lose focus on our dreams and we fail, but we don’t have to blame circumstances because they pass; the most important thing is not to give up. I love watching Wrestling and my favourite Wrestler is John Cena, he lost very crucial fights where he thought he would beat his opponent but he failed or he failed because someone disturbed the match. He would challenge his opponent again for the second match and he will comeback well prepared and win the fight. In life; there are so many tests that some we fail and some we pass them therefore we should persevere on the tests that we failed; never give up on your dreams. Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success.


If you can change your perspective on failure, it will help you to persevere and ultimately achieve your desires. So how should you judge failure? By taking a look at seven things failure is not:

  • People think failure is Avoidable.... It is Not

Everybody fails, errs and makes mistakes. There is a saying that “To err is Human, to forgive divine. Maybe you are hard on yourself that you made terrible mistakes in life; it is time to forgive yourself and move on. These are following rules for Being Human:

Rule #1: you will learn lessons

Rule #2: there are no mistakes – only lessons

Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until learned

Rule #4: if you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder

(Pain is one way the universe gets your attention)

Rule #5: you’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.

  • People think failure is an Event......It’s Not

Failure does not come in a moment, failure is a process. If you failed exam; it shows that you neglected the process leading up to the test. How well did you prepare for exams? Or you started studying on last a minute preparation.

Failure is like success; it is not someplace you arrive. Success or failure comes from how you deal with life along the way.

People think failure is Objective...It is Not

You are the only person who can label his/her past actions as failures, therefore failure is subjective. Optimistic people don’t see setbacks as failure. Whatever setback that they come across; they know they are getting closer to the crown.

People think failure is the Enemy... It is Not

Most people try to avoid failure like the plague. They are afraid of it. But it takes adversity to create success. Failure is good because it brings growth by learning from our mistakes. As musicologist Eloise Ristad said “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.”

People think failure is Irreversible....It is Not

There is a saying in Texas: It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow. In other words, mistakes are not irreversible. Keep everything in perspective. The problem comes when you see only the spilled milk and not the bigger picture.

People think failure is a Stigma....It is Not

Mistakes are not permanent markers. When you make mistakes, don’t let them get you down. And don’t let yourself think of them as a stigma. Make each failure a stepping stone to success.

People think failure is final....It is Not

Even what may appear to be a huge failure doesn’t need to keep you from achieving your great goals in life. View failure as a temporary setback and success as a journey to greater things.

“Remember is not over until God says it’s over.”


How can you help yourself learn a new definition of failure and develop a different perspective concerning failure and success? By making mistakes and learning everyday. Remember, mistakes don’t define failure. They are merely the price of achievement on the journey toward success.

Don’t give up on your dreams.


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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I had to come back for another read. Thank you and may success be yours!

    • Bongzwane profile image

      Bongani Zwane 2 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thank you very much......and much appreciated.

    • Bongzwane profile image

      Bongani Zwane 2 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thank you very much.........

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 3 years ago

      This was an interesting Hub. I agree with your premise that failure is a natural part of learning. Everyone fails - or falls down- before they succeed at almost anything, beginning with learning to walk.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Failure is a necessary step to success. We aren't machines or computers - we are human. How many times did Thomas Edison fail? Many times. Today we all enjoy many conveniences because he never gave up.

      Wonderful hub! I voted up, useful, awesome and interesting. Sharing with others too.

      Thank you!