5 Big Reasons Failure is the Key to Success

Personal Growth & Entrepreneurship . 7 Min. Read . By: Devon Brown

Gettin' Jiggy With It - ?

na na na na na na na... na na na na na na ??

Gettin' Jiggy with it...?

You probably know that the person responsible for those song lyrics is none other than the legendary Will Smith. Sorry if I got the song stuck in your head – lol.

But did you know that Mr. Smith also has a really good video about how failure is a key ingredient for success that went viral a while back?

The video (I thinks it’s from his Instagram) does a good job of acting as the “icing on the cake” to the information I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

So tell you what…

I’ll share the video with you in just a second, but first, let’s have a little talk about what many people incorrectly think is the opposite of failure…


Defining Success...

Type the word "sucess" into Google and here’s the definition you’ll get…

Type the word "succeed" into Google and here’s the definition you’ll get…

Now to be honest, I’m not too crazy about these definitions.

These definitions tell us that success has to do with achievement of a desired result. But I can tell you plenty of times that I’ve “succeeded” even though I failed to achieve my desired result.

I’ve found peace and happiness in NOT getting what I wanted more times than I can count. And isn’t whether or not you’re happy and at peace a better definition of success?

Also, like you, I’ve experienced times when I’ve achieved my desired results only to realize that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

So, while Google and I have different definitions of success, let’s, for the purposes of this article, just go ahead and use the definitions that Google has provided.

Besides, if you ask the average person off the street, they’re likely to define success pretty close to what the dictionary/Google says it is… so we’ll just roll with that.

OK, so now that we’ve defined success as pretty much achieving a desired result (even though it’s not our favorite definition), the next question is…  

How Do We Achieve Success?

In other words…

What ingredients do we need if we’re going to bake a “success cake”?

If a regular cake takes ingredients like eggs, flour, and sugar; then our success cake will need ingredients like clarity, focus, persistence, and failure.

Wait… failure???

Yup, you read that correctly.

Truth be told, failure is one of the key ingredients, if not the most important ingredient for success.

Failure is to success, what flour is to cake.

It’s THAT important.

But why?

Well, in order to understand WHY failure is so critical to the success process, we must first understand what failure brings to the table.

5 Reasons Why Failure is the Key to Success

Before I jump into the reasons, did you notice the other ingredients I mentioned above that lead to success? 

Clarity. Focus. Persistence.

As you'll soon see in the following reasons, these are all byproducts of failure. That is why failure is the most important ingredient of success!

#1: Failure Creates "AH-HA!" Moments

AH-HA moments are a great gift.

Have you ever been going through something challenging, when all of a sudden, that giant light bulb that lives above your head suddenly goes off and you gain a perspective that you had never been able to see before?

That’s the "AH-HA" moment working its magic.

Suddenly, something clicks and you are finally able to take your new realization and move forward with a new plan toward reaching your goal. 

Without the experience of failure, you would’ve never told your brain to start working on an alternate solution to your problem.

Without the experience of failure, the light-bulb would never have had the opportunity to blind you with clarity as it did.

#2: Failure Keeps the Ego in Check

There is something to be said for staying humble. A lot, actually.

While the ego may have a role to play in the success formula, there is a thin line between a healthy ego (confidence) and an unhealthy ego (cocky). Rest assured that if you cross that line, failure will put that ego right back in its place.

We know that people can easily get cocky. Too many wins in a row and you start to think your shit doesn’t stink (trust me, it does). And without humility in your life, you lose important parts of your humanity (like the ability to be empathetic).

Too much ego isn’t sexy.

But you know what is sexy? Someone who is good… knows they’re good… but can still serve others with humility.

So if your ego starts to get a little too big for its britches, failure will be there to put it in check. And that’s a GOOD thing.

#3: Failure Creates Extraordinary Change

I’ve said it before; failure is a great tool for growth.... as long as you’re looking at it the right way.

Not only can failure boost your motivation and make you more determined, but it can also plant the seeds for new (and different) possibilities.

Failure can act as a road to despair, or as a springboard to growth… the point is to pay attention to your reaction, because what grows out of the initial failure is entirely up to you.

Use failure as an opportunity to grow. Adapt your plan to account for what you’ve learned. If not for the failure, there’d be no prompt to make such changes.

Think of if this way…

If, for example, you want your body to change… you MUST push it to the point of failure as often as possible.

That’s all working out is. Pushing your body to the point of failure so that it’s forced to make a change.

Push your body to the point of failure with enough consistency and frequency, and before you know it, you’re on the cover of one of those fitness magazines.

So, if you want extraordinary change (i.e. success), you might want to consider failing as much as possible, as quickly as possible.

#4: Failure Actually Puts You on the Path for GREATER Success

Follow me on this one for a second and give it some thought.

Think of any successful person you know from history or present day (authors, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, etc..)

You know good and well that they didn't start out on top.

For the most part, they struggled and paid their dues to get where they are today.

But here’s the thing most people miss (pay close attention)...

It was FAILURE  that actually FORCED them to make a change;  thereby putting them on a path to even greater success and achievement!

Vera Wang, the famous fashion designer was once a figure skater. When she failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure skating team, she entered the fashion industry.

Milton Hershey, the guy responsible for the Hershey chocolate bar you ate last week, was fired from his apprenticeship with a printer. Then, he tried to start three different candy companies, all of which failed.

Amazon.com founder, and one of the richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, was “Captain Failure”.  One of the most notable disappointments was an online auction site, which evolved into zShops, a brand that ultimately failed. Still, CEO Jeff Bezos would re-purpose the idea into what would eventually become the Amazon Marketplace.

Do you see my point. It was FAILURE that forced Vera Wang, Milton Hershey, and Jeff Bezos onto different paths. Paths that would not only lead them to greater success, but also change the world!

Like the world’s greatest success stories, you have to realize that you’re not going to just soar into the winner’s circle right out of the gate either. No one is. The PROCESS is what teaches you. The failures are what will give you the feedback you need to discover the right path. 

#5: Failure Raises Your Adversity Quotient

You’ve heard of your “I.Q.”, right?

I.Q. stands for Intelligence Quotient and it measures your reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

But your A.Q is something different.

“A.Q.” stands for Adversity Quotient, and it measures the ability of a person to deal with adversities in his or her life.

In other words, it measures your resilience.  Many super-smart people will tell you that a person with a high A.Q. is a more likely candidate for success than a person with a high I.Q.

Tough skin is a necessity on the journey to success.

You’ve heard the saying it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you deal with what happens to you... right?

Well, the higher your Adversity Quotient, the better you can deal with failures and disappointments. The better you can deal with failures and disappointments, the more successful you’ll be.

That’s just a  fact.

Learning how to bounce back from failure is one of THE “must have” skills you’ll need to develop. And the only way to learn how to bounce back and deal with unexpected situations and challenges is to go through the experience.

Like Thomas Edison said when he was trying to figure out the light bulb:

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

So What Does This All Mean?

Well, it basically means that if you want to start succeeding, you better get busy failing.

As one of my millionaire friends likes to say:

“If I want to succeed at something, I just start failing forward as fast as possible!”

Failure is inevitable. And it’s also a gift.

Success is a PROCESS. And failure is a very necessary part of that process.

Just like your cake won’t bake without flour… success won’t happen without failure.

Failure isn’t to be feared - it’s to be learned from.

Remember… failing is the key to success. Failing does not mean that YOU are a failure. It just means that you figured out one way that won’t work. And that means you’re one step closer to success.

Here is the Video I promised you.
Will Smith explaining how failure is a key ingredient to success...

Click Play To Watch

Failure Quotes by Successful People on How to Overcome 

To keep riding the inspiration train that Will just put us on, I'm going to leave you with the best failure quotes from people who have made the same mistakes as you.

These successful people chose to view failure differently and wouldn't even let hitting rock bottom kill their determination.

We can learn a great deal from these men and women who have experienced first-hand that failure is a key to success. We can learn to respond to disappointment with perseverance and refuse to let a feeling get in the way of a dream.

You can apply these lessons to your own business and life, turning failures and mistakes into success.

  • "Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you've been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction."  - John C. Maxwell
  • "The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception or and response to failure."  - John Maxwell
  • “There are no failures, only outcomes. As long as I learn something, I am succeeding.”  - Tony Robbins
  • “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” - Jack Canfield
  • “Failure marks the moment in which you grow.” - Brendon Burchard
  • “The greatest failure is to end up bitter, negative, ungrateful, and narrow-minded.”  - Brendon Burchard
  • “Regret doesn’t come from failure. It comes from giving up.”  - Mel Robbins
  • “The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso, and Newton risked failure, and if we want to be great, we’ve got to risk it too.”  - Steve Jobs
  • “Fear of failure falls away in the face of death.”  - Steve Jobs
  • "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."  - Henry Ford

Mix Failure Into Your Own Business and Life

So, don't be afraid to fail. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and don't worry about whether you will fail or succeed.

If you work hard and learn from your mistakes, your efforts will eventually overcome your obstacles. For more on that concept, check out my article, "When Will I Succeed?"

Looking for More Helpful Insights (aka "sexies")?

If you want to fail forward as fast as you can, you should join my Facebook group. It's filled with people who are learning to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. We encourage each other, offer advice, and celebrate our wins together.

We learn how to gain confidence when speaking in public and share our message with the world. I'd love for you to be a part of it.

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  1. I look at thing a little different but it could be in the same direction. When person walkes into a room and as he wakes threw he sees 10 details as he walks threw in the room and he keeps going. the next person walks threw and he sees 40 details as he goes threw. Witch person do you thing would be the one that is a smarter person ? the one that seen less so he was able to save time on the way threw or the one that seen more but was slower. ?
    Well the answer is the one that was slower. the reason for this is that as he walked threw the things he seen was raising questions that need anwsering. the more answers needed means he had to learn 4 X more than the other person but when someone askes him a question he knows what it is . he knows where it is . he knows what could cause something to go wrong. he also knows how to fix what went wrong and ways to make it better with the other things needed to make it a smooth walk threw.

    when you thing of life and being what was walked threw and the person that sees more details if the person that has a very happy life and the ones around him are more happy as well. The more he sees . the more he fixes and puts in place so the walk threw is so much smoother for anyone who comes along with him and he can understand how to fix all and how to understand how to makes things better for all. when this person is asked any question he can help to teach . the more details you pick up the more you can see where the question is coming from and how to answer so the one asking will understand 100%. the one that knows the most is the one with the most understanding because to understand you had to learn all of the directions a question could come from to be able to answer anyone that walked threw. The reason is that everyone is different and that being so to be able to answer everyone he knows that everyone that walks threw sees something different. The one with this type of gift is the one that could make something that works for everyone because he knows all of the questions and to make it all of them have to be taken care of to be what everyone can do it and not ask because it is taken care of on the way threw.

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Devon Brown (“Duh-Von” not “Dev-in”) is a speaker, author, entrepreneur, former hip-hop dancer, and World's #1 Event Emcee. Once described as a sort-of ‘MC Hammer meets Tony Robbins’; his style is 50% education, 50% entertainment, and 100% must-experience. Be sure to connect with Devon on social media.

Devon Brown with Arms Folded

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