Health + wellbeing

Ouch! Yes, failure sucks (for a reason)

- July 10, 2019 2 MIN READ

Personal growth (be it in business or life) can really pack a punch to the proverbial. But apparently the pain is there for a reason: and it’s how we deal with it that truly matters.

“I have failed a lot in my life … relationships, jobs, finances.”

That’s a quote from a video Russell Brand posted to Twitter recently where he described the pain of his “biggest failure”  – the 2011 movie Arthur

“I felt eviscerated… And that showed me that I really wrapped up my sense of personal self in success . I thought if Arthur is Box Office #1 then I will be enough. I will be validated and valuable.” 

Of all the lessons we’re forced to learn in life, perhaps how we deal with the things that don’t go our way is the biggest test of our metal. 

While we can’t do much about what happens to us we can change how we react. 

As Russell puts it: 

“Now I have learned through continual failure that the less external things that I rely on the better and that the process of failure, is a process of education.” 

In a quick poll on our member Facebook page recently – I asked what description of failure resonated most.

These were the options:


Almost 40% chose the first option. 

But does understanding there is a greater lesson, lessen the initial blow of something going wrong? 

Hmm, probably not. But as  Catherine Bell, a consultant specialising in Positive Psych  explained to Flying Solo, there’s a point to that. 

“[Failure] is the unique and often painful calling card for growth,” she told Flying Solo. “Believe me, I wish all growth was delightful and smelled like roses; but the unfortunate reality is that often it just really stings.” 

“Over the years I have observed that the “size” of the failure can be directly linked to the size of the opportunity for learning. Failure has been built to be uncomfortable – because the more it pains us, hopefully the more willing we will be to take the right actions to learn, grow and gather the strength to move on and get out of there! It’s taken me a long time to learn myself but thanks to lots of practice at failing “Personally, I’ve learned to embrace that feeling of failure is simply as an indication that something I’m doing is not working, and needs to change. Ultimately, I like to remind myself: there is no failure, only feedback.” 

What a great way to think about it.