How failure and hardship can lead to success


Kevin Mangelschots

Success. An elusive entity that’s chased by many, but obtained by few.

And while we often don’t see it happening with our own eyes, successful people have usually tasted defeat many times before getting a taste of success. As the road towards prosperity is a wobbly, and difficult one.

But if failure is the pillar of success, then perseverance is the key to attainment.

Today we’ll be exploring how failure and hardship can lead to success. Let’s get started.

Why failure and hardship can lead to success

Picture of the words “failure” and “success” written on a note and being laid next to each other

  • You are not an expert at first

    Chances are you’re not going to be an expert at first when starting out on your journey to success. That’s why you will need to learn a lot of properties that are currently unknown to you.

    Even if you know, and manage your skills very well, you’ll still need to learn how to convert those abilities into sales, or make them financially profitable in order to make money and thus, become flourishing.

    You can’t become the master without being the fool at first. We’ve all been bad at something at first, only to gradually get better at it if we don’t give up, keep improving, and hustling.

  • Life is ever-changing and has some unexpected changes


    Even if you do manage to master a given skill or trait, life is still ever-changing. As a result, different skills and qualities will be in demand at various times.

    And even though we can use our intuition and common sense to predict a lot of events in our lives, there are always going to be unexpected curveballs being thrown our way. That’s just how life is.

    The same thing happens with success. It’s not because you’ve managed to climb to the top that you can comfortably stay there by doing exactly the same thing that got you there in the first place.

    Life changes, people change, and so do other people’s demands and expectations. That’s why you should never stop learning and always have to be on the lookout to improve yourself in order to become the best possible version of yourself.

  • There are always new things to learn
     The quote, “today is the day to learn something new” written in colored letters on a white background.

    Life is too complex to master every ability during one lifetime.

    That’s also one of the main reasons why most companies have multiple employees who specialize at one, or at least few, specific skills. This way, each employee’s individual strengths and specialized knowledge are used to the company’s benefit.

    Even when one happens to be extremely smart and hardworking, you will find that you learn new things your whole life. That is, if we manage to temper our arrogance, keep our ego in check, and hence, stay open-minded.

  • Failure and hardship build character


    Failure and hardships in life are to be expected, but not everyone manages to get back on their feet after experiencing challenging events.

    Repeated negative occurrences will learn you to be tenacious. To roll with the punches, and to never give up. It teaches us that failure is the pillar of success and that perseverance is the key to success. And failure is the first step towards either that we must all take.

    It’s this tough grit, the will to succeed, that separates the flourishing folks from the unsuccessful, or ordinary people. To be able to tolerate repeated failures and to stand back up every single time life knocks us down until prosperity finally comes our way.

  • Failure teaches you what doesn’t work

    Nonachievement teaches you how to succeed since it allows you to figure out what doesn’t work, but also what does work.

    Failure probably means you did something wrong or suboptimal. At the very least, it means you could most certainly improve at certain things. Like you’ve probably heard many times, failure is the first step to success.

    Thus, nonaccomplishment can be a hard but fair teacher, and will indiscriminately show you what works and what doesn’t. That is, as long as you’re willing to take responsibility for your failures and not get stuck in the victim mentality in the process.

  • Hardships teach you that life isn’t fair

    A large, red boxing glove on the left punching a small, blue boxing glove on the right.

    Life isn’t fair. And the sooner you realize and accept this sometimes harsh fact, the faster you might actually get to grasp good fortune.

    Some people are born rich, or get lucky by accident, such as due to winning the lottery. Others work diligently for years, and provide quality products, only to get buried in debt while their passion and fire slowly burns out.

    Life doesn’t give you anything for free, or even what you deserve. Your best chances for successfulness are to work hard, smart, and to keep grinding. And even then, it’s still no guarantee. But, you do most certainly improve your odds.

  • Failure forces you to analyze

    Failure forces people to turn inwards in order to analyze what went wrong, what went right, and what areas we could improve on.

    Because if we don’t figure out our mistakes, chances are we’re going to repeat the same errors in the future and, therefore, keep getting the results.

    But if we take a moment from time to time in order to analyze the process, the road towards success we’ve been on so to say, then we might actually start spotting our own weaknesses. We might figure out our blind spots and act accordingly in order to address our weak points. This gives us a better chance at attainment.

But to become successful, we must be willing to fail. This requires a considerable amount of courage and perseverance that a lot of people aren’t willing, or daring enough to bring to the table.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why do we often not notice our own failures?

The sentence “willing to fail”, written in blue on a piece of paper

There are many potential reasons why we typically don’t see, or notice, our frequently repeated failures.

It might simply be because we don’t see our own faults, and since they are regularly not pointed out by other people because they’re attempting to be nice.

But it’s also a possibility that we don’t notice our own failures and errors because we are so envious of other people’s success, and try to repress, or rationalize our own individual failures as a consequence.

Most people want others to do well in life, but not frequently do people genuinely want other people to do better than themselves in any area in life. Our egos are quite fragile, and we typically go to great lengths to protect them.

How can failure lead to success?

Illustration showing how trying, failing, and success are a vicious circle.
Failure can lead to success since we’re forced to be introspective, to analyze what went wrong, and what we can do better in the future to prevent the same undesirable outcome.
Hence, it promotes critical in addition to analytical thinking skills so that we can improve to forbid ourselves from making the same mistakes.
Not just that, failure gives us an incentive to improve, since we feel negative experiences more strongly than we do positive ones. That’s why a lot of our actions are aimed to prevent pain, rather than to chase pleasure.
Nonachievement is typically seen, and felt, as something harmful that we wish to avoid in the future, even though it’s required to thrive eventually.

Is failure required to succeed?

Failure is typically required to succeed, since we rarely attain such heights from the very first time we attempt something.
That’s because we seldom do everything right at first, and since we lack the necessary knowledge, perseverance, and other skills that are needed to overcome hardships.
But failure in itself is not enough. It’s only a benefit if we decide to learn from it in order to change and do better in the future.

Examples about failure leading to success

The word “example” written in red letters on a white background.

A potential example of how failure leads to success is the following.

Imagine that you’re getting bad grades at school, and that your teachers and parents are berating you, and even telling you that you’re never going to achieve anything of worth on your current course.

As a result, instead of remaining sad and demotivated, you use these harsh words as fuel in order to do better, to get decent grades, and to eventually achieve your degree. Now, you can actually do the work you wanted to do in the first place instead of dropping out of school, or having to change educations.

Another possible example is failing your interviews for multiple jobs, only to persevere and finally land that occupation you’ve been looking for.

Failing only made you that much more driven in order to succeed so that you can prove to yourself and others that you are capable, and worthy of attainment.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Success and failure go hand in hand. If failure is the pillar of success, then perseverance is the key to success.

Both making errors and perseverance in the face of hardships is vital in order to build character, and to teach people to keep hustling despite the sometimes seemingly insurmountable odds.