October 12, 2023

The Power of Failure

By: Peyton Holliday

Many of us have seasons in our lives that we look back on and recognize our missteps. Sometimes we are aware of the failure in the moment and other times we don’t see the pattern of failure until we look back. 

There are many examples of people who have failed time and time again, which only pushed them to find success. We all know that Thomas Edison found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb. 

Another example of failure is Steven Spielberg. Steven is known today as a highly successful film director, but he was twice rejected from film school and has a lifelong struggle with dyslexia. Despite these failures, he overcame and pursued his dream and talents to show the world his failures would not define him. 

Failure is hard and can lead people to give up and never try again. Sometimes it seems much easier to give up and move on. But, failure can be a powerful tool if we wield it correctly.

Failing is not a bad thing that we should avoid and run from, but can be a way to bring us closer to our goals. Failure shows us that we can make mistakes and still be encouraged to keep trying. 

Think about a time in which you have pressed on through the failures to ultimately succeed. Maybe it was the math test you knew you would fail or it was taking the driver’s test three times before actually passing. What did that failure teach you? Maybe it taught you to study harder or to read through sections that you ignored the first time. Maybe it taught you how important it is to slow down and not speed study. 

Failure can lead us down roads we never thought possible and lead us to something even better than we originally imagined. The power in failure leads us down roads we would have ignored if we had succeeded the first time and through the process we meet people who we would have ignored had it not been for failure.

In my own life I hunted for a job for over a year;  interviewing, applying, writing and coming up empty. Day in and day out I kept asking myself if I should keep trying or give up. I would meet people who encouraged me to keep going, but sometimes I would roll my eyes. If I am doing the right things and everyone says I am, why am I failing? How hard is it to do everything right and still come up empty-handed?

As my finances got tighter and things started to cave in around me, I wondered if I had sacrificed too much and when I should give up. Did I really have what it took to do the things I wanted to do? 

Throughout the process was the nagging thought that if I did give up how close to success was I?

I dug in and kept pressing into the job hunt and as failure after failure stared me in the face, I finally landed an interview that seemed promising. I remember seeing the email on my phone as I walked out the door and calling my Mom immediately. 

My first words were, “This would be a dream come true, but I am not holding my breath.” After several rounds of interviews and lots of anxious thoughts of possible failure, I landed the job. 

All the months of failure proved powerful in my new role. The networking I had done and the amount of time I had put into each step before me proved invaluable. If I had never had all the setbacks and failures, I never would have the network I have today. 

Even when failure is staring you in the face, there will be a time when you can look back and see how failure was working in your favor. Maybe it is a career switch and you do have to give up on a dream, even so that failure has taught you something powerful. 

Next time you fail and you look at the world around you with the anticipation that you have nowhere left to go, be sure to take time to find the power in the failure. Think of Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and others throughout history who have failed and yet in the end were successful. 

Failure is a powerful tool that can be used to our advantage if we take the time to look back, reflect, and make the most of it. Each person you meet along the way and each situation you find yourself in can be used for good. Find the power in failure and use it to your advantage and never let failure get you down.