Success and failure are not opposites!


Failure. A scary word, isn’t it? I think almost all of us do not like this word and make everything in order to avoid every opportunity to fail. We all are so charmed by the words like “success”, “achievement” and “succeed” so that we often forget that our route to success is covered by mistakes and failures. From the failure of applying to a prestigious university to the refusal of giving you a job of your dream after the interview, every individual should go through the hardest parts of their life and dare face the difficulties. What does it mean? It means that we need TO LOVE our failures!

If to take some examples we will see that many famous people had failed several times before they became successful. For instance, Henry Ford failed twice with his “Ford” company; Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star newspaper for not being creative, and Abraham Lincoln failed plenty of times before he finally became a president in 1860. These are probably the most well-known examples in the world but they remind again that everyone may fall one day.

Although failures like those often are not so crucial for our life, they can hardly demotivate us and consequently, we may quit and give up. In our subconscious mind mistakes are usually connected with the sense of shame and guilt. Yes, there are some mistakes which we could prevent with our knowledge and attentiveness, and when we make such kind of mistakes we are definitely guilty. But the majority of other wrong decisions are not the result of our incompetence, but a natural and inevitable part of our way towards achieving goals. That is why we must see all the difficulties as an important component of our future success. In fact, we do not need to avoid failures, we need to changes our attitude to them. Success and failure are not opposites, and the second is necessary for achieving the first. We need to accept it fully then we will be able to love failures.

As for me, I have been experiencing difficulties since the very childhood. Honestly speaking, I was a loser who failed at my relationships with other children, later with boys. I was an introverted and frightened girl who was afraid to communicate because of the fear of being ignored or laughed by others. At the university, I always was silent during the lessons because of the fear to speak in English and make mistakes. After the graduation, I changed several jobs because I never believed in myself and feared of the possible failures that I could end with. But I obstinately kept moving forward and now I am here, a master student of Nazarbayev University. But even within the university, I am currently experiencing lots of challenges; at the end of the first term, for instance, I was close to dropping out. But then I realized that those were just temporary difficulties that I needed to go through. I am not afraid anymore.

And you?




7 thoughts on “Success and failure are not opposites!

  1. Dear Assel,
    Thanks for sharing your personal reflections and feelings!
    I have also experienced the difficulties and hesitations in the previous semester. I think that every person may have somehow “not so good even awkward” experinces in their lives, and this might the indispensible part for the growth of individuality. When we were young, we thought that we should be like other children who “succeed” in everything; when we grow up, we think that we should be “successful person” who has strong ability for earning a “good” life. These imposing beliefs or values have driven us from who we really are. Thus, it can be hard for one to break those beliefs and construct his or her own by own reflection and independent thinking.
    I admire your courage and tenacity, wish you wonderful time in the coming semester!


  2. Dear Assel,
    Thanks for entrusting us with your personal stories! Even though it meant revisiting those old, may be painful experiences that would be easier not to recall at all. I agree that the majority of us find failure difficult to bear, especially when you know you have tried your best and still didn’t succeed. Failure can also hurt your ego. Your self-esteem can decrease with failure. All of it makes it incredibly difficult for us to accept failure and perceive it as a chance to grow. For me, there are two root causes of not being able to “love” your failures: first, it is because we define ourselves by outcomes and as Sharapat mentioned, we were brought up to focus on success.
    Again, thank you for your honesty. Good luck with your studies and everything!


    1. Thank you, @asselshmidt for your reflections and personal stories! And it is really hard to keep going when as akalya77 wrote: “you have tried your best and still didn’t succeed”. What I think is important here, not just try to ignore the disappointment and tiredness, but to step back for a moment, think about the situation, and reflect on the reasons everything went wrong. If we do not analyze our failures and change something about our actions, we will just keep making the same mistakes again and again. Thank you for raising this issue, especially now at the end of the semester, when some students might feel exhausted stressed out.

      P.S. I am glad you did not quit the program because we would lose such a wonderful person and promising young researcher then.


  3. Dear Assel, thanks for your personal and honest post. It really touched the heart. Your post unconsciously reminded me my some failures that are not important now, but valuable for being who I am now. Due to trial and errors that are not always positive, we learn a lot. May be at the moment of failing, it seems that it is the end of the life, then you realize that these failures became the impetus to your present great achievements. Whenever I face some difficulties, I try to make myself think about how I will remember this awkward moment after 5 year with the smile on my face. It really helps me. It is just one of my life hacks. Thank you again for such thought-provoking blog. Good luck.


  4. dear, @asselshmidt,
    thanks for sharing your personal experience of facing difficulties when you were younger. I truly agree with your point that every failure makes us stronger. However, I believe that only a truly brave person can tackle any difficulties. A person without strength of inner world probably would become a loser after so many failures, I’m trying to say that just a failure cannot make you successful if you are so in your mind. I am stating myself as a person who accepts a problem like a challenge and tears it apart. What about you?


  5. Thank you, Assel, for your amazing post.
    I completely agree with your ideas. I believe that failure is an important part of life as it teaches us to do not repeat same mistakes again and again and to learn from our own fail.
    However, the majority of people have a negative attitude towards failure because of fear and it is really hard to convince yourself.
    As for me failure and success are two parts of one coin.


  6. Powerful personal reflection, @asselshmidt. (4.5/5) Your writing is clearly moving, as you see from the interested commenters. You also do a nice job moving from the general, to the historic, to the personal, which is quite effective. The only thing I would remind you is to always cite images, just like you would sources of quotes and statistics.


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