Failure: The Other Side of Success



Thomas ERdison

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Can you imagine a world without the light bulb? It took 1,000 failures before Edison could invent it. Thomas Edison chose to account for his initial failures in this way “It took 1,000 steps to get to the light bulb” (Success, Pauline Estrem, 2016)

I remember as young student teachers going out on our first student teacher practice we gathered in a classroom to get clarity from the lecturer about  a new concept that was added to the curriculum. Instead of acting to alleviate our confusion he smiled and said, “When you’re confused you’re learning. He might not have been far from the truth. By the end of the tenure of student teaching we were possessors of great understandings. We were satisfactorily illumined

arrow-of sucdc3essBut who wants to work through failure or ambiguity? Experience shows that from time to time our world will be catapulted into a state of flux. However,  it is as we try to wade through the flux that clarity comes and the seemingly obscure pathway becomes clear.  We certainly do not arrive at the platform of success using parameters of the past. Within the context of ambiguity or failure there are certain dynamics. These dynamics propel us toward making purposeful, strategic shifts vital for interface with new dawn that is headed our way.  Another way of looking at the failure/ success dynamic is to recognize that  missteps/ failure/ mistakes challenge our assumptions and cause us to rethink or think of new ways required by the arriving new dynamics.

Michael JordanMichael Jordan, legendary basketball player who won MVP five times and led the Chicago bulls to six NBA championships confessed “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”


Ariana HutffingtonArianna Huffington is one who recognizes that success is built off of failure. Thirty six publishers thought her second book was not good enough. Now she is the author of 36 books and the owner of the Huffington post media group.

Vera Wang

Vera Wang despite training hard as figure skater disappointingly failed to make the Olympic team in 1968. Yet she went on to work first for Vogue and Ralph Lauren then became a revered name in the designing world.

Tina TurnerAfter a debilitating history of domestic abuse, Tina Turner made one of the biggest come back in music history. She ascended to the top of the rock & roll hall charts with the release of her songs “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and Private Dancer. Private Dancer won three Grammys and sold 10 million copies around the world (RollingStone Magazine).

Lucille BallDo you know the back story of Lucille Ball? Her biography would have said failed B movie actress. But then came the “I love Lucy series” that brought her success beyond her wildest dreams. Ultimately her biography had to be rewritten to indicate her ionic status as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors/actresses.

Humans, it seems must check into at the teaching point of failure en route to success.

By Ingrid Rizzolo author of Splendor from Ashes

24 thoughts on “Failure: The Other Side of Success

  1. We’ve heard so many times people say that ‘without failure, there’d be no success’. It’s so true – our losses and mistakes teach us to strive more and be better.


  2. I think it’s important to remember this, that every success was preceded by many failures! Thanks for the reminder.


  3. Great to learn new things and remember learning about the light in school. Great invention, imagine life with out today ugh no. And Lucille Ball in I love Lucy was so funny love watching


  4. I feel as though failing could be the key to success. When you fail you usually can see how to accomplish to goal in a better way. So in that way you learn strategy. If you never fail or “cheat” then you ever truly learn much.


  5. I believe in this concept as well, as I have proven many times. My failures in life don’t define me as a person. Instead, they are what I call my motivating factors to do better and be thankful that I am indeed still here and breathing. That for me is a success.


  6. I feel like failure is part of life or at least the rocky moments. Even though it is hard to admit sometimes I feel like it totally makes you a stronger person.!


  7. Success is the result of preparations, hard work and learning from your failure. We can not be afraid of failures or setback. My father use to tell us that setback is a setup for a comeback.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just love reading inspirational stories like these. Learning how someone else overcame adversity and steped into their purpose gives me hope that everything will work out in the end.


  9. Ingrid you’re on point with this post ! As humans we don’t want to go thru failure, but these trials in life help us come back stronger, with better ideas and better! Everytime we fail, a better version of us emerges ! Personally, people keep telling me its hard to make it in the blogging world and this and that, but my mind is set and yes even though it will take time, and it will be trial and error, persistency will play the key role to success. God bless you ❤ Thanks for sharing ! PS. I just listened to some Tina T, while writing this ❤


  10. Lucy and Tina have always been inspirations to me for their triumphs over tribulations. I didn’t realize that Vera Wang was a figure skater, but she has definitely succeeded in her stylish endeavors.


  11. Failures build character and teachs us what doesn’t work. They are learning lessons and in the end only make us stronger.


  12. I definitely think failure is such an important step to achieving your goals – would you ever feel like you truly achieved something without having to overcome the hurdle of failing in the first place? It’s such an interesting topic.


  13. We can choose to view rejections and failures as in a discouraging light and give up or use it to motivate ourselves. It forces us to rethink, regroup and create or revise strategies that will move us closer to our goals.


  14. Such an interesting article, it seems like you have to experience failure in order to find and achieve success. Maybe it is the dusting off yourself and carrying on attitude that helps you find the success you crave.


  15. Failure is so much needed when it comes to feeling success. If we succeeded all the time we really wouldn’t recognize it when the time came.


  16. What an amazing post. This should be enlarged and in my wall if for nothing more it should be a reminder that success doesn’t come without some sort of failure. An even though I have fallen I can and will get back up and keep on trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reading success stories could give us inspiration while knowing the failures of each successful person can give us more enthusiasm in pursuing our goals. Such a great collection of individuals stories! Great post!


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