Failure is the Key to Success

Stumbling upon failure is oftentimes the only way to achieve success

Stumbling upon failure is oftentimes the only way to achieve success

Giuliana Carmosino

When you begin to think about success, and about what it truly takes for one to reach success, what do you think of? In other words, what does it mean to be successful to you? Maybe you begin to think about money and a big house. Perhaps you think about that amazing job you just interviewed for, or earning a raise at your job. I guarantee that when you think about success you do not think about failure. Why is that? Do we associate failure with disappointment and embarrassment? I know that personally for me, sometimes I see myself shying away from new opportunities due to the fear of failure, but a lot of the time failure is the start of something new and huge. Failure in our lifetime teaches us to learn from our mistakes and it gets us ready for the opportunities and second chances that this world throws upon us. 


How can Failure Cause Success?

Failure is a part of life that every individual has to go through. Everyone in their lifetime will fail, however it is the response taken after that failure that has the biggest impact. Oftentimes trying to learn from failure is seen as a major challenge, because for you to learn from your failure you have to own up to that failure. Admitting that you failed at something is oftentimes the hardest thing for an individual to do. Therefore, the individuals who fail and don’t take responsibility for that failure or any failure in their lifetime, may struggle with finding success. Many believe that while success is the key and is seen as a good thing, failure is almost better for you. One must not let your successes get to your head and feed an ego, while also not letting failure consume you and embarrass you. Failure simply means that there is a different direction to be taken to achieve your goals, it does not mean that your thoughts and dreams aren’t valid or achievable. 


The Numbers

 Lin-Siegler, states that she believes that many people look at failure as a bad thing, and that success is far beyond what they are able to achieve. Her study done in 2016 tested more than 400 Ninth and Tenth graders at four low income New York City schools. She found from this study that, “Many of the kids viewed success as a result of some kind of natural aptitude that they simply didn’t have. The students didn’t tend to think of famous scientists like Albert Einstein as actual, imperfect people like themselves—students who didn’t learn about the scientists’ struggles were more likely to say that those scientists had innate talent and aptitude which separated them from everyone else. This mentality has been shown to be particularly detrimental to students in STEM fields, where droves of kids who originally seemed interested end up dropping out after they struggle in a class or fail a test.” From this, we can conclude that by knowing that everyone makes mistakes, even scientists, can truly help the brain and drive of a student who seems to be at a point of failure. The study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management analyzed data from scientists who had applied for grants early in their careers. They categorized them based on those who received funding for research “the success group” and those who didn’t “the failure group”. Then, they tracked how many papers those scientists published over the next decade and how many times their studies were cited in other articles to gauge their success. Those in the failure group were 6.1% more likely to publish a high-impact paper than those in the success group. This study can just begin to show that failure can make you work harder than ever before, in sight of success. 

From all of this information above, we can see that failure, while scary, is oftentimes essential to being successful. Failure gives you a stronger motivation to complete the task presented to you. If you do not fail, success is harder to achieve. Therefore if you are ever presented with failure, do not give up, instead take that as a second chance to become more successful than ever before. 


Works Cited

“Lin, Xiaodong D. (xdl2001): Teachers College, Columbia University.” Teachers College – Columbia University,

Ossola, Alexandra. “Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don’t Think They’re Smart.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 3 Nov. 2014,

Wang, Yang, et al. “Early-Career Setback and Future Career Impact.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 1 Oct. 2019,

Wang, Yang, et al. “Early-Career Setback and Future Career Impact.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 1 Oct. 2019,