“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it
the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
~ Napoleon Hill
The words resonated with me so much that I transcribed them into my quote journal. Some years later, when I was going through a really rough patch, I remembered that quote, dug it out of my journal and copied it onto a small piece of paper which I carried around in my pocket. For weeks, I repeated it to myself often—because, for me, just saying those words brought me inner relief.
“We seem to gain wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.”
~ Leo F. Buscaglia
A New Way to Look at Failure
When something seemingly goes wrong, I don’t use the word “failure” anymore. Instead, I like to call it what I’ve come to see it as: a honing or tempering experience. I believe that the specific language we use creates an internal framework which influences how we perceive and experience our world. Therefore, I try to eliminate words such as “mistake”, “failure” and “wrong” from my vocabulary, replacing them with phrases such as “a learning experience”, “just one step along my journey” or “a clarifying experience”. For me, this kind of mental shift and self-soothing increases the probability that I’ll be able to see the benefit of an experience. Whenever I blame myself (or anyone else), not only does it feel bad, it keeps me from being able to see the value of my experience.