The unique power of failure




There are no secrets to success.

It is the result of preparation, hard work,

and learning from failure. 

Colin Powell


What do you think when you hear the word failure? You probably think that you are not good enough and that perhaps, you should give up. While failure may often involve those thoughts and emotions, failure can also serve to make us stronger or wiser.

A simple definition of failure is that it is an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success.

When I think of this definition of failure, I am reminded of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. While there are many conflicting stories of how many times Edison “failed” at inventing the electric light bulb, most agree it was in the range of thousands of times before he found the right combination of materials. One of Edison’s most famous quotes is,

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

If you are able to adopt a similar attitude, you will be better able to overcome your feelings of failure and be able to see your dreams and desires come to fruition.


“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”- Henry Ford

When you consider some of the words from these wise and successful people, you will truly begin to understand the unique power of failure.

The truth is, you only fail when you give up! When you keep trying until you’ve found the answer or the solution, you’re successful.

You would probably never say that Thomas Edison or Henry Ford were failures would you? Sure, they were unsuccessful many, many times. And perhaps like most people, they were not 100% successful in every portion of their lives, but they did not give up until they found the right answer, the right procedure or the right materials to solve their problem.

In case those quotes are not enough to make you believe that failure has a positive power and strength, here are a few more that you might be able to relate to:

“Failure is an event, never a person.” – William D. Brown

The next time you try your hand at something and don’t achieve the desired result immediately, remember failure is an event; it’s not you.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”- Bill Cosby

If you’re trying to please everyone, you can’t possibly succeed!


Never confuse a single defeat with final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“You can’t have any successes until you can accept failures.” – George Cukor

Simply because you have failed once, twice or 10,000 times at something, does not mean that you are a failure. You only fail when you stop trying.


“You always pass failure on your way to success.” – Mickey Rooney

What does that mean? No matter what you are striving to succeed at, whether it is a sport, project, career, invention, or at school, there will be times when you will not succeed. But you must not let that stop you from continuing to work to reach your goals, dreams, and desires.


The common thread among all these famous people and their wise words is the same. You cannot have success without some failure. Never give up and never stop trying. There is an absolutely unique power in failure, and you must be able to pick yourself up again and give yourself another chance.

Keep trying, keep failing and soon you’ll find true success!



Photo Credit: ‘PixelPlacebo’ via Compfight cc

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  1. says

    Hi Martina,

    Super timely. I reach points where I am breaking through, and naturally, the Universe tests me through failure. I feel like this post sang to me today. Keep on keeping on. If these champions of industry and inventions had these takes, we should too.

    If you try one more time, and learn, you will take a step closer to your goal. Push, prod, fail, but always learn, and you too can become successful.

    Heading forward with a renewed mindset. Thanks Martina.


  2. says

    Failure means you get to challenge yourself and see how far you will go for something you want. Failure shouldn’t stop anyone! :) I desire to be a writer and if I quit after my first rejection, I would probably never write again!

    • says

      It is one of my favorite quotes as well. Too often people lose hope when things don’t work out perfectly the first time. As Henry Ford said, failure gives us an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.

      Best of luck with your writing as well.



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