Why Failing Isn’t Such a Bad Thing

by Scott Sery on January 10, 2014

Failure SuccessA few years ago, when Charlie Sheen was in the news for various shenanigans, many of his quotes on “winning” were circulating around.  They were funny to hear and read, and nobody took them seriously.  But there is another quote from the same actor, one that needs to have a closer look.  The actor said, “As kids we’re not taught how to deal with success; we’re taught how to deal with failure. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If at first you succeed, then what?”  It’s a provocative thought that deserves some thought.


We all want to succeed, after all nobody likes to fail.  But life does not always work out the way we want it to.  We can make plans, analyze and take calculated risks, but in the end, there are often pitfalls that will get in the way.  So we revamp our plan, we tweak our approach, and we try again.  Every time we fail it only means that we have another chance to succeed.  Failing gives us the lessons that we need in order to keep on our journey to success.  We understand how to weather the hardships, so we can better enjoy the good times.

Succeeding Early

Success after multiple failures is the reward for a lot of hard work.  Something to be enjoyed.  However, when success comes without the failure, what happens is exactly what we see with a lot of celebrities.  There are some that worked hard to get where they are, however, there are many others that had their fame (and subsequently fortune) thrust upon them.  Those who rose suddenly without experiencing the failure often fall hard.  They become laughing stocks, and don’t know how to manage their success.

Why It’s Better to Fail

Success is great.  It feels very good to work hard at something and reap the rewards of your hard work.  But without failing we end up struggling even more.  And while it is easy to point out the downfalls of celebrities, it happens every day all around us.  For instance how many of us make big plans for our tax refunds?  We understand that we should save some, invest some, pay off some debts, and spend just a little.  However, when that refund does come in, we suddenly “need” a plethora of items for the house, and we end up spending far more than we originally planned.  It is because this success came without hard work (technically it did, however, it feels as though it did not).  When the money trickles in after long hard hours at work, more of it is used wisely.

Final thought

Too much failure is not a good thing.  Too much success is not a good thing.  There needs to be a good balance between failures that help us learn, and success as a reward for our hard work.  Charlie Sheen may seem to be out of touch with reality.  He may make silly comments about how he has tiger blood in his veins.  But this quote gives us a great insight into the mind of those who succeeded without failing.  They are lost and struggling much more than those of us who go through multiple failures in order to finally succeed.

The following two tabs change content below.

Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • brokeGIRLrich

    Great post! I know that there are some things in life I chased and just kept failing at, but in the end, since I kept working at it, I finally got there (like my current job). It feels entirely different then when you just succeed on the first try (which, hey, I’m not complaining, I like that too).

    • Scott Sery

      Agreed, sometimes succeeding on your first try is a great thing (although I would say past failures often help cross over and help drive that new success). But when it happens too often, we don’t learn the lessons we need to.

  • Pingback: 10 Reasons Why 'The Donald', I Am Not! | Critical Financial()

Previous post:

Next post: