Why Is Failure A Form Of Learning? 3 Reasons It Helps Us

Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and J.K. Rowling- what do all of these individuals have in common? All of them experienced failure at some point in their lives. Lately, I’ve asked why is failure a form of learning. Well, failure teaches us what went wrong with the mistakes we made. Along with that, we can identify opportunities for future growth as well.

Failure is viewed as a negative aspect of society. On the other hand, I view it as a good thing rather than an end-all-be-all scenario.

In this article, I’ll lay out three reasons why failure can help us learn from our mistakes. Also, I’ll discuss my past experiences dealing with failure and how it’s helped me with growing my business.

  1. Failure Is Not The Final Outcome
  2. Identify Our Strengths And Weaknesses
  3. Identify New Opportunities To Help People
  4. Reminds You To Not Give Up Easily
  5. My Experience With Failure
Why is failure a form of learning? This post goes over some reasons why failure can be viewed as a learning experience.

Failure is not the final outcome

Some people think of failure as the end of the world- when in reality, it’s not that at all. Often it’s viewed as the beginning of doing something better.

Let’s take J.K. Rowling, who is well-known for her books on the Harry Potter series. The series became so popular that they ended up becoming movies.

Prior to her success with the books, she struggled early on. I won’t go over too much of what she went through. But here’s one thing that happened: It took her 12 times to get her first draft of the Harry Potter series published.

Why is failure a form of learning? J.K. Rowling made 12 attempts to get her work accepted by a publication company.

Imagine having been rejected the previous 11 times? For a lot of people, they may have quit and moved on. But Rowling learned from her failures and kept on going.

Here’s a brief description of what Rowling went through prior to experiencing massive success.

Failure is part of the learning process and the start of a better path down the road. So let’s go over three reasons that failure is part of learning from our mistakes.

Identifies our strengths and weaknesses

By experiencing failure, we see what worked well and what did not. Some questions to ask ourselves include the following:

  • What areas did you excel in?
  • What areas did you lack or not see progress in the past?

There are things we’re really good at, while others maybe not be so well. If we don’t recognize them early on, we may end up wasting a lot of time and effort doing certain tasks.

Why is failure a form of learning? Identifying our strengths and weaknesses helps with overcoming failure.

Running a business that failed 

Let’s discuss a good example of a failed business. You may have the best product or service out in the marketplace. However, you made little effort at marketing that product.

Whether that’s paid to advertise, or promoting it on social media, you may not have spent the time to learn how to do it effectively. That’s fine- those can be weaknesses in your business or opportunities for improvements.

Your strength may be product creation, but your greatest weakness is marketing/distributing your product. If you lack the resources for marketing, that’s something you need to identify. In that case, you can learn those skills or hire someone else to do marketing for your product.

Why is failure the best way to learn?

Failure provides us with better opportunities for growth, and what we should not be doing. It can lead us on the correct path to success.

Identifies new opportunities to help people 

When we fail at something, we don’t stop and suddenly not be creative anymore. Instead, we can be more creative when coming up with new ideas. 

For example, if a previously failed business did not work out, what will stop you from starting a new one? It’s possible your last business didn’t have an interest or need in the marketplace. 

However, your new idea may have a significant need, and you’ve identified your audience. It could also be something you’re passionate about and want to expand on.

From that perspective, it becomes more about serving others rather than just earning revenue for the business. When you’ve found that type of opportunity, then go for it.

Why is failure a form of learning? Failure is not the end all be all- it's a learning experience.

Reminds you to not easily give up 

Oftentimes, people may give up entirely and not take on new challenges. When they try something and fail at it, it’s an instant “We’re not doing that ever again.”

If you start a business and it fails, you may think “I’m not going to start another business ever again.” But that’s not the best attitude to have, as that can mean turning down better opportunities.

So what do you do in these cases? Well, here’s what you do:

  • Admit you failed and it didn’t work out as intended
  • Get your head back up, wash your hands, and move on to a new opportunity

My experience with failure

Over the years, I’ve failed a few times with some business opportunities. The earliest one was back in 2014 when I had the first online business that I thought would do well.

But it didn’t gain any traction, and I eventually lost focus in that niche. The same thing happened with two other websites I had. I was in it for short-term gains, but I had no clear direction where I wanted to take them.

What can we learn from failure?

Failure teaches us what areas we excel in, and which areas we struggle in. It weeds out the things we should not invest time and effort in.

Why is failure a form of learning? Failure can teach us to not give up on things easily.

Also, I set up a large eCommerce store, which I spent a lot of money on at the time. Unfortunately, I made very little money in return, and it was a letdown at the time.

These opportunities I took on back then were all examples of failure, but I learned valuable lessons from working on them. 

Where I’m currently at right now on the business side, I have a clearer vision and passion for what I do here on the website. I can refer back to my previous failures to see how I can do better in the work I do right now.

Here’s a relevant article from notimekillers.com

Read next on “How to force myself out of my comfort zone: 7 tips” to learn how you can step out of your comfort zone. If you’re ready to take risks, this article is for you.

Final Words 

It’s important to remember that failure is not the end. Instead, it’s viewed as a valuable learning experience to take away. 

Sometimes, failure will be inevitable if things don’t work out as intended. When that happens, accept it and make the next opportunity worth every effort.

As you think that over, ask yourself: What can I do better the next time around? The reasons discussed earlier can help a lot, and why we need to learn from them.

Your Turn: Do you view failure as a learning opportunity? 

I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Have you failed at something before?

Whether it’s a personal matter or in business, have you learned anything from failing before? Do you see failure as a learning opportunity?

Do you see it as necessary to put yourself in the right direction? Do you now see failure as a good thing? 

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your thoughts, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Why Is Failure A Form Of Learning? 3 Reasons It Helps Us”

  1. I didn’t know J.K. Rowling got rejected eleven times before being published.

    Failure is an excellent way to learn, as you said. If we don’t fail, we never learn.

    We can know what it takes to get there, always being successful. Failures let us see what doesn’t work and what we need to change to become more successful in a lot of time in our life.

    • Hi Gate,

      You would not think it would take that many times to make success a reality. In the case of Rowling, she didn’t give up and just stuck with it.

      You’re spot on about failure in general. If we don’t fail, we’ll never learn from our mistakes. So failure is a great form of learning in what works for us or not.

      Failure is essential to living a life that has true potential. If we don’t live up to it, then it’ll be harder to do the things we want to do.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re greatly appreciated.


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