Failure is not the enemy of success – it is the entry to success

Some people ask, “When we try to improve ourselves, if we fail repeatedly, how can we avoid becoming discouraged?”

By reconceptualizing failure – instead of seeing it as the opposite of success, we can see it as the precursor to success. Failure and success don’t always lie in opposite directions. Frequently, success awaits us further down the same road on which failure has met us, if we just don’t let failure stop us.

Consider, for example, how children learn to walk. They fall, get up, walk a few steps, fall again – and go through this cycle repeatedly till they gradually start walking steadily and eventually start running smoothly. While learning a universal human activity such as walking, we understand intuitively that failure is the precursor to success. Thankfully, the same principle applies to our inner life, all the more so when we try to spiritualize our consciousness by regulating worldly indulgences. As we may not always have the abilities to develop specific external skills, in those areas, failure may not always lead to success. However, as we are inherently spiritual beings, we all have the potential to spiritualize our consciousness, provided we persevere. Such perseverance becomes easier when we draw strength from our connection with our Lord, who stays unfailingly by our side, no matter how many times we fail.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.35) cautions that when we hold on to negative emotions such as lamentation and moroseness, we exhibit self-defeating determination. Whereas determination helps us hold on to something good, its self-sabotaging version impels us to hold on to things that hurt us. Seeing failure as the enemy of success is the result of such self-sabotaging determination.

By reconceptualizing failure as the entry to success, we can persevere till we fail our way to success.

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  1. Failure is the stepping stone of success

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