The single most important ingredient in the recipe of success

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“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.” — J. K. Rowling

If you are still wondering what ingredient is it that I’m talking about here, then let me tell you — it’s failure! Failure can be a challenge. It can take a toll on your sense of well-being. But, the truth is we all have failed at some point in our life. And, that’s the ultimate truth. Some people fail in their career, some in relationships, and so on!

Can anyone honestly say that they never made any mistakes in life and never failed at something? I admit I’ve had my fair share of failures. I have failed more than I would like to admit. But, what I have learned is that every failure is a jumping-up point for growth and learning.

You need to look at it with that mindset. If you don’t, it will be a huge anchor weighing you down at one place and keeping you stuck in a rut.

It’s ok to fail

Failures suck! Nobody likes them. And, when we are faced with them, we start being too hard on our self. We start thinking we’re not competent enough. A way to deal with failure is to first accept the fact that it’s absolutely ok and perfectly fine to fail sometimes at certain things. Just because you could not succeed at something does not mean that you are incompetent. It only means that there’s more to learn or that perhaps what you failed at was never truly your calling.

Failure is essential

It’s not just some philosophical cliche, but the truth of life. Thomas Edison’s thousand failed attempts before finally creating the light bulb is the perfect example that proves just how true this statement is. He did think of those thousand unsuccessful attempts as failure. He just figured that this many avenues will not work.

Failure is often a disguised opportunity

Failure is just a moment in time. It’s not a continuous thing and definitely not permanent. It’s always temporary just like everything else in life. Besides, when we are entangled thinking about where we went wrong and what we could have done to avoid failures, we fail to see the bigger picture that’s slowly starting to form. A picture that potentially holds great, previously unexplored opportunities.

Failure may seem like a negative thing in that moment, but mostly acts like a doorway to latent opportunities. Sometimes really big ones. But, you have to give things some time and wait it out before you’re able to connect all the dots and realize why failure was necessary.

It gets you out of your comfort zone

Sometimes all we need is a little push in the direction of success. Failure can give you that push. Often we don’t feel motivated enough to get out of our comfort zone or out things that might have the potential to change everything. Sometimes a step back can actually be a positive thing. It gives that mental boost to see where you’re going wrong and self-analyze where you’re lacking and what can be done to improve yourself.

Even in the words of Bill Gates — “Success is the lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Failure is the real teacher, because it tells you what does not work so you don’t repeat those mistakes. We all want to keep succeeding without making any mistakes. But, that involves such cautious thinking and calculated planning at every step that you almost lead a life full of fear. And, while failure may not seem like anything positive, fearful thinking aimed at avoiding failures is not very positive either.

Failure helps you practice resilience

Perhaps the most crucial trait one needs in life is resilience. But, you cannot develop it if everything is going your way — if somehow you always keep on succeeding; although that rarely happens unless you happen to be very lucky. Failure teaches you to be flexible in your dealings and it makes you realize that things are highly uncertain. It makes you more realistic about what to expect. You learn that the desire for success brings certain expectations. You learn to manage them and don’t feel disappointed even if you can’t meet them.

What are your views about failure? If you have some personal experiences or perspective to share, I would love to hear them out.


Vartika Kashyap is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She currently runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.


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Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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