How do you view failure? Do you see it as something negative that you do not want to be associated with it? Or do you see it as something positive?

Most people don’t like failures especially entrepreneurs or businessmen. For them, failure entails not only an opportunity loss but also an opportunity cost because when their business fails, their money or investments also go down the drain. I fall under the category of most people here because I used to hate failure. However, failure is also an opportunity to learn from.

My fear of failure stopped me from achieving my true potential. I was constantly obsessed with “What if” questions. As a result, I couldn’t grow as an individual because I was unwilling to step out of my own comfort zone. Eventually, however, I realized that failures offer a lot of lessons to learn from.  There are told and untold stories of famous people failing before becoming successful.

Did you know that the fear of failure is the main reason why more than 80% of people in the world are not prepared to change their circumstances?

Why do people fear failure so much? The reason for this is because people don’t understand the dynamics involved in success and failure.

Everything we do in life has either a right way of doing it or a wrong way of doing it. When we do it the right way, we are met with success. Needless to say, when we do it the wrong way, we are met with failure.

Understanding the dynamics of failure and success are important because it puts failure in its proper perspective and removes the fear around it. When people who don’t understand these dynamics are faced with temporary failure, they easily give up, thinking that they are not good enough or that they will never make it. This is what happened to me when I graduated in college and was unemployed. My goal was to secure a full-time actuarial job with an insurance company, but I failed to achieve that. This “temporary” failure left me feeling helpless, and I gave up on my actuarial career by settling with a low-paying administrative job in a bank.

I was extremely unhappy, and I found myself asking these questions:

Is this administrative job really going to be my career?

Does the fact that I didn’t make it the first time mean that I am not good enough to become an actuary?

Does it mean that I’ll never make it?

My answer to those questions was, “Not at all! All it means is YOU HAVE NOT FOUND THE CORRECT METHOD YET!”

So what did I do next?

I went back and tried to find out what went wrong. I went back and look at everything that I have done so far. I spoke to successful people who have made it within the actuarial profession to gain inspiration. After that, I spent some time reflecting on what I might have left out and tried again.

The lesson learned is this: Whatever you do, don’t give up.

Why do you need to do this?

Because “Every failure, every adversity, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit”, says author and mentor to many great men, Napoleon Hill.

Failure contains the seed of victory and of success.

Failure teaches you what works and what doesn’t.

When you study the reasons for your failure and learn from it, you’ll find the key to your success. The great inventor Thomas Edison knew this truth better than anyone else. It took Edison 8,000 trials to perfect the Edison battery. Afterwards, he uttered this famous quote, “At least we know 8,000 things that don’t work”.

You should also be like that. Every successful person has had to overcome temporary defeat at one time or another. Know this!

You haven’t really failed until you ACCEPT defeat.

Do you envy those who got success easily? I know I did when I encountered my first failure.

But don’t! Never envy those people because jealousy is a very ugly emotion.

Success earned in spite of earlier failure is so much sweeter than if you would get it otherwise.

Those who earn success in this way know the road to success. They are not afraid of losing what they have because they have learned how to become successful. Those that easily got success don’t know the road. They got there so quickly that they didn’t bother to look around.

Let me use the following analogy to illustrate. Take two guys traveling to the same destination with this difference: one is going by airplane and the other by car, but the one arriving by car had a few breakdowns along the way.

If you take these two guys back to their original position and ask them to find their way to their destination, who do you think is going to remember the road better the next time? Surely, the guy who had a few breakdowns and spent some time on the road because he had the opportunity to look around!

Do not let temporary defeat be an obstacle. You have many hidden talents, so start working towards realizing your dreams. Don’t be put off by the fear of failure. Failure is your ally because it contains the seed of success.