Why our definition of failure is wrong

What is failure and why is our definition of failure all wrong?


The definition of failure in the english dictionary is defined by three words- lack of success. This means that in our definition of failure we don’t value learning, growth, experience or struggle. That we only see the results of today and letting go of all this where we could be learning.

Failing on that one test or task you have been rehearsing for in days, weeks or months may make you feel like a failure. It can make you feel like that one person who is to dumb or not good enough, but to fail at one thing doesn’t make you a failure.

In Huff Post, Jay Shetty share a story about a girl seeing Picasso in a shop and asking him to draw her a portrait. In thirty seconds he draw her an identical portrait, handing it back to the girl saying “that would be 30 000 dollars”. The girl didn’t understand how he could charge her 30 000 dollars when it only took him 30 seconds. Picasso answered that it took him 30 years to be able to do that in 30 seconds. This is an example on how we forget about that time that made this possible- that forgotten time. It is the part that you don’t see, the bottom of the iceberg, that makes what you see today possible.

iceberg, definition of failure


Do not be affraid of failing, you can’t always winn. To fail is not negative as long as you are learning from it. You see, failure has the ability to loure sucess and conuntless failures is the way to sucsess. Definition of failure 

According to Malcom Gladwell it will take you 10 000 hours before you become one of the best in your area/ field.

It is the part that you don’t see that makes what you see today possible- Jay Shetty

The key to success is knowing that failing doesn’t make you a failure

As long as you are learning from it, nothing is wasted. According to Daily mail a study is actually revealing that failing is good for you. Using a brain scanner the scientists could reveal that people responds positively when they are tested on past mistakes. The brain activates “reward circuit” during the test, which helps the person to retain the correct answer instead of only avoiding to make the same mistake twice. We do learn from our mistakes over a given time. 

Our brain has two ways of learning:

  1. Avoidance learning– trains the brain to avoid repeating the mistakes through negative experience and punishing
  2. Reward- based learning– here the brain feels rewarded for reaching the right answer through positive and reinforcing experience  

A study by the University for California shows that as long as the brain has a chance to learn from its mistakes it could turn failure into a positive experience. 

Failing can inspire creative thinking

To solve a problem you can use two different ways of methods to get to the answer. One through knowledge that has previously been taught or through personal instinct. 

When you don’t get this the right time, you are failing. But every time you are failing using one method you are dismissing the previous method and add hearing to a new method which in the end will give you the right outcome. So if you have never failed then you have never tried anything new.

No one is a failure until they choose to be!


– Gina Long Liabø

One comment

  • Dette har jeg gledet meg til å lese, Gina! Helt enig med at failure handler om så mye mer enn «lack of sucsess» da det omfavner vår evne til å lære og tenke nytt.

    Keep up the good work!

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