ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Personal Health Information & Self-Help»
  • Mentally & Emotionally Balanced Living

Where Would We Be Without Failure?

Updated on January 27, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor, explores attitudes and actions that can help us maintain our mental well-being.

When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel. – Eloise Ristad

Failure is like a woman you accidentally bumped into on the street. She follows you home and lives in your shadow. Ever so often, she reminds you of how you met.

Finally, you stand up to her: “Tell me everything you have to say and leave."

And Failure cheerfully responds, “That’s all I ever wanted—to teach you some wisdom and move out of your way.”

Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.

— Zig Ziglar

Four Characteristics of Failure

  1. Failure is transitory, but she harasses you as long as you allow her.
  2. Failure challenges you to do something differently to obtain different results.
  3. Failure is not your enemy but she will sabotage your purpose if you treat her like one.
  4. Failure not only teaches you; she empowers you to teach what you learned.

(1) Entrepreneurial Failure

The Story of R. H. Macy*

Macy's Manhattan, NY Store

Photo by Balou46
Photo by Balou46 | Source

Rowland Hussey Macy was born on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in 1822. By age 36, failure had taught him many lessons including, perseverance, creativity, commitment to purpose, and the importance of designing a unique plan for success. Following is a list of his failures, leading up to his success on his seventh attempt at retailing.

  1. His first thread and needle store in Boston failed within a year.
  2. His second effort was a dry goods store. He worked hard, but failed again.
  3. His partnership with Samuel S. Houghton lasted one year, then he decided that he wanted something different.
  4. Macy and his brother, Charles opened Macy and Company in Marysville, north of Sacramento. When the miners left the area, so did the Macy brothers.
  5. Macy practiced his unique style of business--fixed prices and cash only in Haverhill, Massachusetts, north of Boston. That business also failed.
  6. He tried again, and after three years, failed again and declared bankruptcy.

He decided to try another line of business. He worked as a stockbroker, then as a real estate broker. He made some money, but failed again.

7th Attempt: In 1858, at age 36, Macy moved to Manhattan where he made his seventh attempt at retail. In twelve months, he achieved tremendous success and in twelve years, the store averaged $1 million in sales per year. Macy died in 1877, an example of a man who stood up to failure.

(2) Academic Failure

Bill Gates dropped out of college.

Academic Failure

Maybe you dropped out of high school or college because:

  • you lacked the talent to cope
  • your juvenile attitude got you into trouble
  • adverse circumstances presented obstacles.

The fact that you dropped out is permanent, but the causes are almost always reversible. First, decide the direction you want your life to take, and consider the options. There are numerous links to online college programs.

"Bill Gates dropped out of college. So did Michael Dell. So did Mr. Zuckerberg, who made the Forbes billionaires list at 23", according to the New York Times (20/12/02).

College education is important but it is not a substitute for character. Good work ethics can survive without it. Failure cannot stalk you when you are determined to thrive despite your past experience.

(3) Financial Failure

Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before they make it.

The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business. Macy’s failures were almost twice the average. Let his attitude inspire you.

Financial failure can also create personal losses like foreclosures, repossessions and loss of credit. Take responsibility for your contribution to your dilemma and learn money managing skills from agencies like GreenPath. They teach you useful tips you might never learn if failure had not sent you.

Photo by Joshua Cintron
Photo by Joshua Cintron | Source

(4) Moral Failure

Moral failure reminds you of better capabilities.

Moral Failure

If you experience moral failure, it is because you have acted contrary to the moral principles you choose to live by. Your self-deceit resulted in a fallen self-image. Failure reminds you of the importance of good character, and the steps necessary to live with a free conscience.

  • Confession –admitting your failure— helps you focus on gaining strength where you are weak.
  • Repentance—condemning your failure— makes you examine what you really believe, and the direction you honestly want to follow.
  • Forgiveness—accepting God’s forgiveness for your failure (which some refer to as, forgiving yourself), allows you to understand that you are not your failure.

Fear of who knows about your failure and what they will say, can tie you to the failure. You do not have control over people and their thoughts about you. Let their gossip work for you by providing the incentive to get up, leave your failure with them, while you move forward more humble, but more focused.

(5) Failed Relationships

Failed relationships motivate improvement in people skills.

If you ever get divorced or experience a breakup in any special relationship, failure motivates you to make the following steps for your emotional healing and for improving your chances of better relationships in the future.

  • Examine your attitude and actions for the part you may have played in the failed relationship.
  • Deal with your damaged emotions before jumping into another relationship.
  • Assess your weakness and strength for an awareness of how to proceed in a new relationship.
  • Forgive the other person for their contribution.
  • Pick up the pieces and get back on track to fulfill your purpose.


Failure is like a woman you accidentally bumped into on the street. She follows you home and at your invitation, she teaches you ways to improve your game.

Finally, you express your thanks, and she leaves.

On her way out, she reminds you, “That’s all I ever wanted—to provoke you into taking on new challenges."

Where would you be, if you had not stood up to failure?

*Macy's story is adapted from John C. Maxwell's Failing Forward (Thomas Nelson,Inc. Nashville, Tennessee, 2000)

Remembering Failure

Do you have an experience of failure which comes to your mind often?

See results

© 2013 Dora Weithers


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Shaloo. I just read it again. It still inspires me.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 4 months ago from India

      Thanks for such an inspiring post!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Purpose Embrace, thank you for sharing. Those failures are tall stepping stones for the wise.

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Yes, there are lessons we can learn from our failures and disappointments. Many people, including myself, have testimonies of how they bounced back after failing. Thanks for sharing MsDora.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Fiona, welcome to the club. We are still alive, and able to pull ourselves up, so let's do it. Thank you for sharing.

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 4 years ago from South Africa

      Well, I failed on a financial level but I am dusting myself off and pulling myself up again - slowly but surely. Thanks for a really inspirational hub and links to some great books.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mathi, thank you for your input on the topic of failure. Your thought is inspiring too.

    • mathira profile image

      mathira 4 years ago from chennai

      MsDora, failure is a unnecessary fear because we do have the potential to tide over problems but sadly we think we are destined to be defeated. Thank you for sharing such inspiring thoughts.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Ignugent, thank you for your feedback and your votes. We have to be at a certain stage of maturity to realize the importance of failure.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      I agree with you MsDora that failure is not an enemy. Wonderful hub thanks for sharing. :-) Voted up and more.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Beth, there are several others, including me, who admit to needing the reminder. Glad to help keep this important issue before us.

    • profile image

      Beth37 4 years ago

      This was so good and something I need to remind myself of *all the time. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you again. LoveDoc. I know that I, for one, will be re-reading it often.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Your welcome:) This is one hub worth reading. thank you

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, LoveDoctor. You said it all in one sentence. I appreciate your input.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      A very well-presented hub. There's no success without failure. What an amazing story about failure. Good points. Voted up useful.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      JPSO, glad you found some inspiration in the article. All the best with whatever it is you want to do!

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Thanks for this hub. I really appreciate each word and truly it inspires me to do what I wanted. Voted up and awesome!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Mahir, thank you for your valuable input. We understand your point of view.

    • Mahir Maric profile image

      Mahir 4 years ago from Bosnia and Herzegovina

      I think the failure, as you have mentioned, isn't failure. Most of the times it is an opportunity for us. Failure becomes failure when we decide to repeat our mistakes but till that moment it just an upgrade for our character and our knowledge. Useful hub, thanks

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Tireless, thank you for your comment. We are all wiser because of the past failures of those who share their stories.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Graceful, style, and creativity describe this article. History is a grand teacher.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Crafty, thank you for your encouraging comment. I need to read and re-read this too. It is very easy to forget the positives.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      This is awesome and I personally needed to read and heed this advice today. What an amazingly talented writer you are MsDora!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, rejection is usually from one person. We have to keep searching for the right person who is wise enough to see the benefit of what we write. Thank you for sharing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Frank, you're very kind. I'm not quite sure what qualifies an article for editors' choice, but I'm grateful that I have a few. I'll keep trying.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for your informative parable on failure! It only makes sense and helps me to see the experiences of my life differently. Although I have never given up, and have learned from the failures I have had, I tend to be afraid of rejection when it comes to my writing. If I look at these as learning experiences, I can move forward more productively.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      MSdora your hubs are just so well done Im surprised most of them aren't editor's choice because they are top notch.. I love the intro to this one especially.. voted useful.. creative and my editors choice nom..:)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sheila, you said it very well. thank you for your valuable input.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Jaye, thank you for your comment. You made good application of the message which, by the way, is primarily for me. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bwana Papyrus, thank you for your input. You gave a perfect illustration.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      Very inspirational! I especially liked the quote about how failing is not the same thing as being a failure. Thanks for the reminder that if we fail, we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      MsDora - This is a very inspirational hub on so many levels. Since many of the readers on HP are also freelance writers, they/we are accustomed to receiving rejections, whether in the form of actual printed notices from publishers, fewer clients than wished or less traffic to hubs than desired.

      If we allow such rejections to make us feel like failures, a self-fulfilling prophesy occurs. If, however, we use these rejections to improve our writing and the marketing of our work, we're using lessons from that uninvited visitor.

      Voted Up+++ and shared


    • BwanaPapyrus profile image

      John Gaudet 4 years ago from Washington DC area

      This especially works for a writer, you take any failure or especially any feelings or emotions and use them to drive the next story you write. Channel the energy from rejections, for example, into your writing and change a negative to a positive force!

      Thanks to Ms Dora for showing us the path.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Faith, thank you for your affirmation. Never give up and keep learning. I know that's right.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Billy, a "Well Done" from you means a lot to me. Thank you for your valuable feedback.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, MsDora, what an insightful hub here and I love your analogy of the woman! Boy, if it were not for my many failures, and all the wisdom I have gained from such failures, I just do not know where I would be this day!

      The most successful people in history have failed hundreds if not thousands of times, but the key is they never gave up and learned from their failures.

      Up and more and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I smiled as I read your introduction. Well done, Dora! You had me hooked with the opening simile and then your advice was perfect.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, thank you for sharing your experience. I admire you for standing up to failure and holding on to your dream. All the best going forward!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great story, what better example? It takes a strong person to get kicked down that many times and keep trying again. Personally this did happen with me owning and running my own bookstore. My first attempt was complete failure but I didn't let my dream die. I made a bigger investment in a better community and it worked for me. Sometimes we just have to face our fears head on. ^

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      DDE, I appreciate your continual support. I agree with you and feel deeply for those who suffer because someone else did not learn from a previous failure. If only we would all take the time to learn and to heal.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, Ies. The very best to you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Word, thanks for your kind comment. Your very positive attitude is encouraging.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Make Failure Work for You great hub, admitting to ones failure is so important. Individuals often repeat their mistakes in new relationships from their old relationships and this is sad because the innocent is hurt. A brilliantly thought of hub, informative and useful indeed.

    • ieschiefengineer profile image

      Satendra Kumar 4 years ago from India

      very nice description.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 4 years ago from Chicago

      Well MsDora, this was a perfect lesson on failure. How shall anyone fail in life after reading this? No way shall I. Thank you very much! That was so, very well put together. Voted up!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)