How Many Failures Are Required Before A Success?

It is like asking how many times you have to die before you start living. We make life miserable by thinking of death and similarly we are unable to achieve success due to fear of failure. However, what we forget or choose to forget is that in order to grow, we need failure, it is life’s ultimate lesson. However, it is important to note that the concept of the term “Success” should not be understood in a stereotypical manner or taken at face value. In fact, success is a subjective concept and has different meaning for different people.

However being good human is also not an easy task if you are not good at pretending. Anyway, whatever you want to achieve, failing will happen, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, so you might as well have a ‘no fear’ attitude towards it. Sometimes failure even teaches you lessons that you might not learn otherwise. Thus failure is not a bad thing but part of every success. This does not mean you should expect to fail, but when it happens accept it.

This is exactly the message of an ancient Chinese proverb which says, “Failure is the mother of success.” Experiencing small failures helps people cope with major defeat. However, like the “fear of suffering,” fear of failure is also worse than the failure itself. Thus many people don’t even try to achieve their desired or dreamed goals in life due to this fear which, in psychological term, is also called “atychiphobia” or an irrational and persistent fear of failing.

However, history is full of many instances where people failed several times before achieving success.

Most impressive or glaring example is that of Thomas Elva Edison who is said to have been fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive” and afterwards, as an inventor, created many many (between 1000 to 10,000 according to different estimates) failed prototypes of his electric bulb before succeeding.

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Another similar, but more revealing example is that of Sylvester Stallone who was reportedly rejected 1,500 times when he tried selling his script and himself for what would be the film Rocky. Stallone suffers from partial paralysis in his face which made it difficult for him to get casted in an industry that’s all about looks. Today, Rocky is one of the most successful film series of all time, grossing more than US $1 billion.

Here is a an interesting infographic for you to glance over:

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Thus you really can’t know and understand success without first having failed — often many, many times.

But the fundamental question is that if there is a limit to number of failures one should or needs to go through before achieving the final success? How many failures one has to face before the realization of one’s dream?

The Answer is short and simple:

“You only need one failure and that is failure to accept defeat at any cost.”

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Thus keep trying and failing one or more times doesn’t mean that you are gonna fail forever. And as someone said, “keep trying. Hold on, and always always, always believe in yourself. If you don’t, then who will?”

But one final and the most important word of caution as some experts have pointed out:

“trying again and again only works if you learn from your previous failures. You have to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and then focus on what needs to be improved.”

That is why failure becomes part of success. In case we don’t learn from our failures, we don’t move forward and thus don’t make any progress towards the achievement of our purpose. Hence it’s important that we look at failure from the proper perspective.

Hope your victory is near.







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Aizaz Baqir

I am a freelance writer and translator based in Multan, Pakistan having interests in reading, writing, travelling and social services.