Learning from failure is the key to success


“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” - Bill Gates

I have never written a blog before as I never was very good at expressing myself on paper, but I want to send this message to all students, teachers and parents to perhaps consider a new perspective on the way we approach life.

In a world where everyone strives for success, recognition, money and self-satisfaction, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important; personal growth and self-development. I once believed that success was determined by the ability to avoid failure in everything you do, whether it is an exam, a relationship or performance on a job. However, with this mindset, we never learn how to react when we are hit with failure, which is the cornerstone of improvement. When we succeed we are only reaffirming our current abilities, but when we fail, then we ask ourselves why we failed and try again without repeating our past mistakes. We grow.

As a student, I was always successful in all my endeavours but at the price of not learning the importance of resilience and persistence in the face of failure. My teachers, parents and friends told me that failure was not an option and would only lead you down a spiralling road to nowhere in life. As such, I did everything I could to avoid failing because in my mind, I feared I was incapable of handling such a blow to my self-esteem. 

Now as a teacher, I embrace my imperfections, failures and weaknesses. Feedback from my students, parents, managers and colleagues are all things I consider with an open-mind. Because of this I am a better teacher than I was a student as I am able to constantly improve. I’m not saying that we should look to fail; I am saying that in the event that we fail, we should embrace and accept it, learn from it and move on. The fear of failing stops us from growing, and like any fear it can only be overcome by being put in that situation and realising that it’s not so bad after all.

Learning is an ongoing process we continue beyond high school. In fact, throughout the rest of our lives. I believe the moment you decide you to stop learning is the moment you stop growing and maturing as a person. No matter what we have achieved in life or how much knowledge we accumulate, there is always someone who can teach us a thing or two. All we need to do is keep an open mind and listen.

“Don’t aim to be the person who never makes a mistake. Aim to be the person who never makes the same mistake twice.” – Quan