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  • Randy Tuminello, Principal Consultant

5 Reasons Why Failure is Good

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Failure has been given a bum rap! The very hint of the word elicits passionate feelings that range from outright fear to repugnance. It's time to set the record straight. Failure is extremely essential to our lives. It's like an old mule. Handle it right, and it will help you plow a fertile field. Rail against it, and it will kick you in the rear! The best way to turn failure into something that works for you instead of against you, is to see it in a different light. Consider these 5 alternative perspectives.

1. Failure provides an opportunity to learn.

Failure is like fertilizer. The soil of our spirit is enriched with wisdom when we learn and grow from our mistakes. Think about the typical one-year old. A baby learns to walk only after repeated (and sometimes painful) failures. It's a good thing we learn to walk at an age when we're too young to conceive of the idea of giving up! Hey, mistakes happen! Use them as anchor points to scale your next mountain, not as barricades to hold you back.

2. Risking failure is often the prerequisite to success.

The long-term costs associated with the fear of failure will far exceed the immediate expense of a noble mistake. The fear of failure works like an annuity in the reverse because it accumulates the lost opportunity over time. The cost of stifled imagination or the inhibition to make the bold move is incalculable. People cannot perform at their potential when they feel inhibited or hesitant. Ask any basketball player and he'll tell you that you're more likely to miss if you hesitate before taking the shot. Companies with strong creative and client-focused cultures embrace the risk of failure!

3. Failure is often the avenue to a new or better approach.

How often do you find the best idea or the right approach on the first or even the second attempt? As the old saying goes, 'Good enough seldom is'. You give birth to mediocrity when you let the immediate failure discourage you. You'll then try to justify your lack of diligence and discipline by saying, 'This will just have to do'. This is one of the greatest injustices of all because you just robbed yourself of the exhilaration that comes when you know you 'got it right' and gave your all! Failure keeps us from becoming satisfied too soon and stopping short of our best.

4. Failure helps to eliminate the wrong options.

Like the emergency broadcast system, failure is the necessary feedback you need when you're headed in the wrong direction. Failure says, "Whoa, buddy! You're going the wrong way! Better turn around." The elimination of one wrong path brings you one step closer to the right one. Think of how much more wasted time and effort would be expended if not for failure! The discovery of what is false is what leads us to seek and pursue what is true. And isn't that the ultimate goal? If you don't believe me, ask Thomas Edison. Where would we be today if he hadn't persisted in the quest for the truth!

5. Failure is the springboard to a stronger character.

Without physical exercise, our bodies atrophy and the same holds true for our character. Failure is like the 'Stair Climber' exercise machine. It exercises our mental muscles and builds the essential attitudes for success. Get in the game and allow the painful exercise of failure to work its magic as it strengthens the mental muscles of success--diligence, determination, discipline, patience and perseverance. Chances are it was the lack of these qualities that were holding you back in the first place.

So, if you've failed recently, congratulations! You've just been given a chance to take another step up and get closer to that better idea, more effective approach and closer to the real truth! You're now free to really succeed!


Randy Tuminello is the CEO and Principal Consultant for Tuminello Consulting, a consulting firm dedicated to the AEC industry and public agencies. For questions or comments contact him at

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