“You might never fail on the scale I did. But 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.” – JK Rowling
Penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own, JK Rowling wrote her first novel using an old manual typewriter and finished it in year 1995. The manuscript was submitted to 12 publishing companies and was rejected. Fortunately, Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury agreed to publish it but advised Rowling to get a day job because ‘there’s no money in children’s book’. In 1997, Rowling received an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council so she could continue writing. That novel was entitled “Harry Potter” which has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and has gained international recognition and multiple awards. The last four Harry Potter books have set records as the fastest-selling books in history.
What if Rowling gave up after the first, second, fourth or tenth rejection? She wouldn’t have gained billions, and we wouldn’t have read one of the best novels there are. Rowling failed so many times. But still she succeeded.
Things we can learn from failure
Looking at the bright side of failure is one way to bounce back after being knocked down. It can help restore our self-belief and counter self-criticisms that make failure much harder to bear. But the question is – is there really something good about failing? If yes, what is it then? Surprisingly, failure teaches us many things about life and resilience.
It spurs humility.
Humility is vital for success. It is something that many people admire about truly successful individuals. Humility is a very attractive quality. It means staying confident and poised without being boastful and arrogant to others. Failure teaches us the art of humility because it allows us to appreciate every single victory or accomplishment as they come.
It opens more opportunities.
Many people are afraid to go out of their comfort zone because they are afraid of failure. So they choose to narrow their lives by sticking to what they had been doing. But taking risks is essential to achieving success. It takes courage to take risks – and we can all develop it through failures.
It makes us wiser.
They say older people are wiser. And that’s not simply because of their experiences, but also of the failures they have gone through in life. Failure helps you discover more about yourself, such as your strengths and weaknesses. It also helps you correct your mistakes. For instance, arriving late to work because you failed to catch the first bus teaches you to wake up early next time. Failing to pass the exam teaches you to study harder. Failing to get the job teaches you to work harder and improve your credentials. Failing to get your investment back teaches you better ways to improve your business.
It brings us courage.
The more we fail, the more courageous we become. The more resilient we become. Failure strengthens our resilience – a trait that is very important to succeed in life. Resilience is the ability to deal with and bounce back from any forms of adversity, may it be related to work, family, relationship, money, etc. Courage helps us survive life’s difficulties, increasing our chances of success.
If you’re going through the painful process of moving on from failure, knowing these things will make you feel better. In life, people are rewarded and praised for their victory. But the truth is – we can learn more from failure than success.
I’d love to hear your comments,