Does Success Mean You Fail? – The Reality of Achievement

So you want to be successful. You may be asking yourself, how long will it take? What is it going to look like? Probably not exactly what you’re envisioning. Does success mean you fail? Yup, it sure does. Here’s why:

Success Is Not Linear

Many things in life are linear.. Our language is linear, math is linear, we are even taught to complete daily activities in a linear manner (e.g. step 1, step 2, etc.). On account of this, it’s easy to imagine that your journey to success will also be linear. You may envision that it will entail a smooth, upwards, progressive incline towards your goals. Something like this:

Well I’ve got news for you, this is completely inaccurate. Success does not look like this. That is not how life journeys operate. The events in your life cannot be molded into a pattern, they are much more chaotic. Achievement can be ugly, it can be hard–there will be many setbacks, challenges, and changes in your course of direction. Your success will look more like this:

Learn to view success as more of a series of mini-failures, this may seem depressing at first. However, each failure that you overcome brings you that much closer to your ultimate success. Notice how in each diagram both of the end results are the same? Every journey will have its obstacles, and that is a reality about success that you must learn to embrace rather than reject.

Successful People Fail The Most

That’s right, remarkable individuals endured the most hardships, failures, and grand-scale disasters. They aren’t invincible, they aren’t geniuses, and they aren’t any different than you. But, they had to pay a price for what they achieved. It cost them dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

The reason why they realized their goals, is because they didn’t give up. From a logical point of view, you are statistically more likely to succeed the more times you fail.

[Tweet “Each time you fail, you are that much closer to success, simply because you tried one more time.”]

The most classic example of the true meaning of failure is Thomas Edison, who tried (or failed) 10,000 times to create the light bulb. By the 5000th attempt, the media viewed his efforts as a joke, and they saw zero future in electricity.


Think about the tenacity that requires, and imagine if he had given up. Perhaps we would still be using oil lamps! He revolutionized the world because of his perspective on failure:

“I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  -Thomas Edison


Get Back On The Wagon

Expect failures, but don’t see them as this terrible ordeal. They are just another form of a stepping stone. Once you become a master at getting back on your feet when you’re knocked down, you will be ready for your success. Get back on the wagon, don’t let a minor setback cut your progress short. Don’t let a mere obstacle keep you from discovering what’s possible.

If you’re on a diet, and you mess up one day, that’s O.K. It is perfectly O.K. to screw up! Just get back on that diet. If you didn’t get the mark you wanted on a test, oh well! It’s done. The most resourceful thing you can do with your past failures is learn what to do differently next time. Keep going, and don’t lose the faith within you to try just one more time.



Comments (4)

  1. Tony

    Great article on getting back on the horse if you fall off. If you want success, expect many failures along the way. I’ll try and take this perspective on board, will help when I’m hacking my way through life. :o)
    Cheers, Tony.

    1. Lyra (Post author)

      Thanks Tony! The old wagon is always waiting for you to hitch another ride. A lot of the time when I messed up on one of my commitments I would give up altogether because I was a perfectionist, but then I realized that I would get nothing accomplished if I wasn’t willing to change my attitude about failure. Cheers!

  2. Rinspwer

    As the saying goes, happiness is a journey, not a destination !!
    I really like the information you have on your website
    keep up with the good work !!

    1. Lyra (Post author)

      Exactly. Thanks so much for visiting my site.


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