Why Failure Should be Your Best Friend

Austin Ledson
5 min readJun 24, 2021


Ask your family, friends, neighbors, dog, or any other living thing you can think of, and they all will tell you that yes, they have failed at least once in their life (except the people who think they’re God but are really just lying to themselves or obviously your dog and other creatures because they can’t speak, but you get the point).

The thing is, even though everyone has experienced failure, not everyone is able to turn that into a positive or even think about any aspect that might be positive about it. That’s because at face value it’s not positive, and most likely fucking sucked.

The kid who busted their ass to make their school’s top sports team or the one who practiced religiously to play in the concert finale, just to find out they failed to make the cut because their competition was either older, more experienced, more skilled, or had better relationships.

What about that business person who applied for the job of their dream but didn’t hear back? Or the student who applied for their favorite university but was not accepted? Or even, your dog that just can’t make that jump over the damn fence?

Every one of them has failed. Some over and over and over again. You think any of them felt good living through their bad news? Nope. Yet some come back and give it another shot while others wither away in their own defeat and end up giving up completely. THAT is the difference between the people who see failure as its face value and the ones who are able to turn that into a positive.

To understand that failure is much more like a learning experience than a set-back is a hard thing to grasp but a great thing to comprehend.

One of the most famous examples of this is that kid that didn’t make their school’s top sports team. This person became a legend in his sport, his names Michael Jordan.

While he was crying at home after finding out the news, his friends (the ones who made it) and the other team members were celebrating, as they are entitled to, after their success. What happened after is what made all the difference.

The ones who made the team, they knew they were good, because heck, they made the top team! Michael on the other hand, I’d imagine felt terrible, and probably was lacking confidence in his ability to play the sport. Thing is, failure just gave Michael some help, while the others were left to fight skillfully alone. Failure gave Michael the pain of what it’s like to give it your all and come up short, but also gave him the determination to be better than any player on the top team, and lead him to be one of, if not, THE best player in the world.

At this point, he HAD to work harder than everyone else, he HAD to to develop a strong mindset, he HAD to determine if this is what he wanted, and he HAD to look at himself in the mirror as a loser so he could tell himself THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. Even if it did, do you think that he wouldn’t end up in the same place with even MORE motivation and determination? I’d say he would. Because he is one of the ones who sees failure as an opportunity, as a positive, as a friend rather than a foe, and he LEARNED from his mistakes and he LEARNED what he had to do to be the best, and he LEARNED that what he thought was giving it his all, was obviously not enough.

While the rest were happily settling in their small success thinking they were already enough, he was alone knowing he had to work a lot harder.

Think about it, remember a time where you won an award, received some recognition, achieved something you set out to do, how do you feel? Now, think about a time where you lost, tried hard to achieve something but ended up in tears rather than in happiness, how do you feel? Which one has a stronger emotional response? Exactly.

Now, remember a time where you failed, but were given another chance or decided to create one and then YOU came out on top or succeeded. How do you feel? This success is a lot more impactful than the one you got sooooo easy (chances are you won’t remember a lot of the easy ones). This is because the failure has created a more impactful emotional response that will hold negative feelings. The ones that you had to push through and tell yourself “I can do better” or “I’m going to give this another try”, or even “I’m not good enough” or “where did I go wrong?”. THIS MAKES THE SUCCESS SO MUCH SWEETER AND CHANCES ARE YOU ARE BETTER THAN YOU EVER COULD HAVE BEEN IF YOU GOT IT THE FIRST TIME BECAUSE YOU HAD TO WORK HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU DID AND YOU HAD TO BE BETTER THAN WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS YOUR BEST AND YOU GAVE IT A FUCKING GO. You didn’t quit. You looked at failure as a positive, a learning experience rather than a setback.

Failure is your best friend. It’s the one that loves you enough to give you the cold hard truth. The one that helps you grow.



Austin Ledson

Here to motivate, appreciate, and live life