Mistakes and Failures Can't Define You
Inspiration - Motivation

7 Major Reasons Mistakes and Failures Can’t Define You

Are you afraid of failure? Or do you always try to not make any mistakes? Well, both mistakes and failures are a big part of our lives. However, mistakes and failures can’t define you.

A few years ago, I attended a remote seminar organized by one of the biggest American Universities. There was a full day dedicated to a method called Intelligent Fast Failure. This method was actually a bit of a trial-and-error method until you get the desired result. In simple words, it meant that the sooner and the more you fail, the more chances you have to succeed.

Until ‌I took this seminar, I was quite a perfectionist. Usually, I would prefer to study all the available theoretical material before I ever try to do something on my own. I was really afraid of taking any action that would lead to failure. I just wanted to make everything right the first time I try. But even if I had spent hours or even days studying something, I hardly ever could make it right the first time I tried.

It felt like this seminar opened my eyes not only to how I should approach scientific experiments or new projects at my work, but even to how I approach life and new experiences. 

Mistakes and Failures Can't Define You

When I went through the biographies of some ‌people I admired for their success, I found out that none of them succeeded overnight. They actually made lots of mistakes and failed many times. However, they never allowed their mistakes and failures to define them. Why? Because mistakes and failures cannot define you. They are just part of your life and not the end of your life.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston S. Churchill

Read also: You Strive For Perfection? Successful Aren’t Perfectionists

Why Mistakes and Failures Can’t Define You

1. Mistakes and Failures Cannot be Personalized.

Both mistakes and failures are just events that happen during our journey in life. Trust yourself, take risks, and make mistakes. Step out of your comfort zone and translate your failures as steps that can lead to success.

The way you choose to translate failure moves you forward or holds you back. See everything as a lesson from which you can gain something new.

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

Henry Ford

Read also: Try to Fit in This World? Why People Persistently Do So?

2. Sometimes We All Suck in Life and That is OK.

At some point, we all mess things up. We make awful mistakes and appear less than what we wanted to. Truth is that we are all humans and nobody is perfect. We’re all allowed to make mistakes and fail.

To fail and to make mistakes means you try to do something and as long as you are alive, you always try to do your best. Just sometimes your best is not good enough, and that is OK.

“Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance.”

Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

Read also: 4 Approaches to Show How to Find Beauty in Imperfection

3. If you Make Mistakes and Fail it is Most Possible, You will Eventually Make it Right or Succeed.

I used to have a teacher who every time I would make a mistake would tell me ‌it is ok and the only person who makes no mistakes is the one who never does something.

Mistakes and Faillures as Steps to Success

Yes, making mistakes and failing means that there is room available for you to grow into something better and bigger. It is most possible that at some point, you will make it right and succeed.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas A. Edison

Read also: Turn Impossible Into Possible – 10 Bits of Advice to Help

4. You are Much More Than Your Mistakes or Your Failures.

Sometimes you have this tendency to call mistakes the things that happened that did not turn out the way you had planned them and wanted them to be. Even if they were mistakes, accept them and do not let them define you and your value as an individual. Sometimes those mistakes or failures exist to show you the way to something different, which could be a better fit for you.

“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Read also: 8 Useful Tips to Gain the Power of Building Consistency

5. Mistakes and Failure Can Teach You Forgiveness

Maybe the most valuable lesson you can take from your failures and mistakes is how to be gentle with yourself and forgive him. We usually find it easier to forgive others than we find it to forgive ourselves.

Learn to Forgive Yourself

Failures, mistakes, struggles, and hurt are inevitable in life. You must learn to forgive and let go, otherwise you might suffer constant hurt and pain.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

Read also: What Nobody Tells You About Life – 20 Facts to Know

6. Through Mistakes You Can Overcome Your Fears

People are usually afraid of making mistakes or trying to do new things. How could you ever understand if something is a good fit for you without ever trying? And how could you ever become good at something without being really bad at it at first?

We are all afraid, but through daring choices, mistakes, and failures, we ‌push our lives forward and grow as persons. 

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

 Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Read also: How to Overcome Your Fears Through Daring Choices

7. If You Make Mistakes You Have No Regrets

Most people, when they grow older and think back on their lives, remember things they regret and wish they weren’t that coward and attempted to do this crazy thing they kept on thinking about.

Reasons Mistakes and Failures Can't Define You

If they had attempted it even though it might not turn out well, at least they would have taken it out of their systems. This choice that they never made would not return to their minds as regret.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Truman Capote

Further relevant reading on the issue of regrets can be found at The Stoic Padawan article On Having Regrets

Read also: How to Stop The Need to Control Everything

Final Thoughts on Why Mistakes and Failures Can’t Define You

Failures and mistakes are all part of our journey in life. We all make mistakes and we will all fail some time during our lives. None of them should be taken personally. When you meet them, treat them as stepping stones to your road to something bigger. Identify them as what they are, events that occur in order to teach you a lesson.

Mistakes and failures can’t define neither you nor your value.

“You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you”

Maxwell Maltz

What do you think about failures and mistakes?

I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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52 thoughts on “7 Major Reasons Mistakes and Failures Can’t Define You”

  1. I got all excited that you know about Intelligent Fast Failure 😄 I came across it a few years ago on Coursera and I have been talking about it to people but no one usually knows the concept. So cool! It totally changed my perspective on mistakes at work and projects. Your points here are also bullet-proof. Thank you very much for sharing them, I’m sure they will help a lot of people who struggle with perfectionism and self-doubt.

  2. This is a great post and I definitely agree that failing shouldn’t define us but actually we can learn a lot more from failing than we would do from succeeding. I have always been pretty good that if I didn’t do as well on something I would read every bit of feedback and use that to get better, I always see failing as a learning process not a negative thing xx

  3. This is a great read. I’m scared of failing and if I’m honest with myself, my fear of failure is the reason why I don’t take more risks. As you pointed out, we can improve on our mistakes and failures and get better.

  4. Eri, as always you deliver such great content. Every point made me reflect and recognize myself. To take one out, I’d go with number 7. Because I told myself many years ago, that I don’t want to have any regrets. And what you wrote perfectly embodies my feelings and ideas. Thanks!

  5. This is such an important post! I’ve always had a massive fear of failure but I think it’s really important to remember that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and that doesn’t define you. Your point about having no regrets is so true too – I’ve turned down quite a few opportunities in the past as I’m scared to mess them up but I’m getting better now! Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Every single person fails sometimes but the top folks who are happiest never let their failures become a part of their life, their name, their identity and most importantly, their future. Never take mistakes with you to the future but DO take the solutions to those errors with you as you move forward. Rocking post.

  7. It is so important that you remember that mistakes do not define you, mistakes is how we can learn. Thank you for sharing this insightful blog post.

    Lauren x

  8. Failures and mistakes are definitely all part of our life’s experience — we can learn a lot from them even when they may feel awful at the time. Thanks for exploring this and reminding us we can work through them.

  9. Failure is the sauce that give success it’s flavor is such a true statement, Eri. Failure should not define us, but propels us for higher heights and deeper depths.

  10. We are so much more than the mistakes we make. I believe that it’s the lessons we learned and how we come back from it that determines us.

  11. This is something that I can be trying to learn about within myself. It is hard to retrain your mind to look at your failures and mistakes differently. Thank you for sharing this reminder.

  12. Loving this post! I feel you on looking back on the lives of people you admire; I have found that most successful people have made plenty of mistakes. What made them successful was their determination to keep going, and that is definitely a persistence I aspire to. 🙂

  13. I think this is so important! Being able to deal with failure and learn from it is such an important skill and makes people so much more resilient. I’m interested in this intelligent fast failure concept – will definitely be checking that out! Thanks for putting this together and making it so encouraging!
    Colleen | ChooseYourUni.ca

  14. I especially like that point you brought up when you wrote ‘if you make mistakes, you have no regrets.” That is such a powerful statement and true. Making mistakes doesn’t feel great but take time to feel sad/disappointed/etc about what happened. Then once you’re ready, get your head back in the game.

    Crystal | http://www.amazingbaby.app

    1. Exactly. It is never pleasant to know you did something wrong but you definitely have no regrets. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  15. Thissss was so relatable. I’ve been struggling with blogging because I kept making mistakes, failing + not reaching my personal expectations. I wanted to give up. Lately things have been convincing me otherwise. THIS gem definitely talked me off the ledge. Thank you for this! I’ve been terrified to fail again but at least I tried.

    1. We are all terrified when we think about a possible failure but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you!

  16. This is a fantastic post – everyone needs to read this, especially those who struggle with fear of failure! I love the point about how everyone sucks at some point, that made me giggle and I can totally relate to that right now x

    1. I think it is something we all have in common that we all suck at some point or at something. Glad you liked it Jenny!

    1. I agree Andrea. Judgment comes first but yes, truth is we are starting from experience. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  17. I hate making mistakes, but we all have to make them. Noone can be perfect. I just take them with a pinch of salt and move on.

  18. I really need to remind myself of this. Even small failures make me feel like awful, even if they are literally nothing big!

  19. When I was afraid of making mistakes when I was younger. I always feel like making mistakes is embarrassing. But I always end up stressing myself out and make a lot of mistakes. But now I learned that mistakes make more mistakes intelligent and mature. Btw, I like point no.5. Mistakes lead to forgiveness and make you wiser.

  20. FANTASTIC post! Working through a lot of this at the moment, so this is also timely and poignant for me personally. And I love the quotes you’ve chosen to exemplify your points. Nicely done. Be well. ✌️

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