Everybody wants to know the secret to being successful in life. Whether it be in your career or personal life, we all want it all. The real question is: How do we get it?
The answer's a simple one: You have to fail, and you have to fail often. You have to learn all there is from each failure. It’s that simple.
The only other factor is you have to be mindful enough to fail at the right things. There are certain failures in life necessary for the fruition of success. Without them, you’ll be missing a piece of the puzzle.
Then, of course, there are failures that can be entirely avoided -- including any and every repeated failure. Failing multiple times is not only allowed, it's praised.
But you should be sure to fail differently each time you fail. Here are seven failures you need to experience in order to succeed in life:
A failed serious relationship
If I had to pick a single moment in my life that had the greatest influence on the person I am today, it was the failure of a relationship.
Not only because it was with a woman I loved more than any before, or after, but because I was the one that screwed it up.
Relationships fail all the time -- most of the time it isn’t our fault. You'll never appreciate a meaningful relationship the way you ought to appreciate it, however, until you manage to mess up a great one.
It’s easier to brush yourself off and move on with your life when the other person was clearly to blame. When you only have yourself to blame though, you learn lessons that stick with you. And this requires admitting you were the one that screwed things up... but that’s a different story.
A failed friendship
It takes time to understand and appreciate the relationships you have with different people in your life. It’s not just the romantic ones that teach you important life lessons, but also the relationships you have with your friends.
Just like there are toxic romantic relationships, there are also toxic friendships. Once you experience a falling-out with a friend, you understand yourself a little bit better and the life you hope to lead.
It’s most often the company we keep that determines the life we live.
A failed career choice
I’ve never met or heard of a single individual who figured it out the first time. If you’re going to find your passion in life, you’re going to have to spend a whole lot of time figuring out all the things that aren’t a right fit.
If you’re still holding down the first job you've ever had, there’s roughly a 99 percent chance you’re not doing what you ought to be doing. Maybe you’re that one-in-a-million statistic who got lucky, but most people need to go through some trial and error.
It’s usually less about figuring out what you’d like to do and more about what the world has to offer and what you can add to it.
A failed "healthy" bank account
If you’ve never been broke in your life, you'll never understand the importance of money. It just isn’t possible. Sure, you can understand it conceptually, but you'll never know how it feels to figure out how to score a free meal.
Or how stressful it is to be buried by the APR on your credit cards and student loans.
Being broke at one point of your life or another -- hopefully sooner than later not only gives you an appreciation for money, it gives you an appreciation for how little you need to get by.
Most people are wasteful. They overindulge and live their lives inefficiently. Even worse, such individuals never have an appreciation for the simple things in life.
They’re always trying to throw money at happiness, but never manage to figure out you can't buy happiness.
A failed attempt at greatness
Regardless of your definition of greatness, unless you fail at achieving it repeatedly, you’ll never appreciate your accomplishments.
If you don’t have to struggle to win, to succeed, to be great, then can you even call it greatness? It’s the struggle and all it takes to overcome the seeming impossibilities that we find awe-inspiring. If it comes easy, it isn’t worth praise.
Keep in mind the difference between failing to be great and failing to even attempt being great. You learn a lot from trying your very best and realizing your very best isn’t good enough -- yet.
You learn absolutely nothing, however, from never giving yourself a chance to fail. Not until it’s too late.
A failed understanding of what’s to come
The reason human beings landed on the top of the food chain is primarily due to our ability to predict the future with accuracy. We understand the relationship between cause and effect better than any other species, and it's made all the difference.
It takes time to develop this skill. We observe and learn the moment we're born (technically, shortly after) until the moment we die (technically until we believe there's little new to see in our vicinities).
We often forget how important it is to observe and calculate. Most people rely on superstitions and hope, which is amusing, as we were much better observers during our toddler years than we are as adults.
Those of us who understand there's always something new to observe, always something new to contemplate and calculate, are the ones who usually get furthest in life. The more complex the scenario, the more difficult it is to calculate the outcome.
In all honesty, we can only predict the possibility of an event occurring. But it's all you really need -- most of life is a gamble anyhow.