Why You Can’t Have Success Without Failure

“If you knew you weren’t going to fail, what would you do?”

For the last five minutes, I have stared at the blinking, bold line waiting for me to type, my eyes darting back to the question every few seconds.

I adjusted the candle I have burning near me, fiddled with my writing playlist, made sure my to-do list was up-to-date and even snapped a pic of my new onesie. If I were a psychologist, I’d say I was avoiding the question. However, since I’m no psychologist and prefer to wade in the waters of denial, I’m not going to say that’s what I’m doing.

The truth is, I didn’t know how to answer the question because there is no answer to it.

The threat of failure or not, I’m going to do what I want.

Here’s the thing my mind is trying to work out right now: If I do something, I do it because I know I will succeed at it, right? I mean why would I do something if I know I’ll fail? So, I get what the question is trying to do, but the problem is if I knew I wasn’t going to fail at something, personally I wouldn’t want to do it.

Every single day of my life I fail at something. Moreover, every single day of my life I succeed at something; I succeed at perseverance and appreciation, I succeed at failure.

To fail is to work hard for success.

My logic in saying I wouldn’t want to do something I know I wouldn’t fail at is this: If something came easy to me, I wouldn’t appreciate it. I didn’t experience failure with it so the success I do experience is nothing short of turning a light switch on; something anyone can accomplish and nothing to celebrate. I would walk into the room and not think twice about what I just did.

If, instead, I tried turning the light switch and the light didn’t turn on and then I had to go replace the bulb or reset the circuit breaker, then that’s success. I would appreciate that light and think about what I would have done had I not just illuminated the room I’m in.

I’m finishing up my semester of school in about a week or two and the crazy thing about it is the class I know I will get an A in, I’m considering a failure. And the class I know I will get a B in, I’m considering a success.

My “A” class was one I knew would be an easy A. I simply did an assignment every week that left little room for anything less than a 100% and learned nothing.
My “B” class, though, damn did I work my ass off in that class. I read every week, I spent time on my papers for it, and I participated like crazy. It was a challenging class and an A was never guaranteed. Even though my efforts are most likely only getting me a B, I got more out of that class than any “A” class I’ve taken in the past.

Why? I earned that B, I was given the A. If you don’t fail, you don’t earn. The success that is given, that is guaranteed, is not success. It’s a failure to experience and grow. The failure that is earned is success manifested with a negative connotation created to weed out the weak.

Strive for failure and I promise you’ll be caught off guard by success.

Featured image via David Kashyap


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