Failure to most of us is undesirable, something that acts as a temporary/permanent block on the pathway of our goals and ambitions. Generally, failure has a negative impact upon our motivation system and our goal-directed behavior. The repeated failures can set us into negative patterns of thinking and eventually sink us into pessimism and depression. However, failure in many ways is inevitable and necessary in our lives. It is both bad and good. Bad because it hurts us a lot and makes us doubtful about ourselves, our capability and self-efficacy. Good because Failure is good teacher than the Success. People who learn lessons from failure are likely to ultimately win on a long run in life. There are many examples around us which proves this but what we often hear is the only part of their success stories. Research on expertise development has shown that in average it takes a person at least 10 years to become an expert in a particular field.
J. K. Rowling — whose emergence from poverty and failure is renowned — spoke in 2008 at Harvard’s graduation with these reflections on failure:
“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. 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.
‘Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”
In this video, she talks about the benefits of failure drawing from her own life experiences. The first part of her speech can be viewed here: