Feature Image by Christin Hume

The internet is home to a plethora of self-help think pieces ranging from moderately inspirational to utterly platitudinal. So why is this category of writing so popular? It’s simple. We’re all searching for advice to avoid failure.

While failure is deeply personal and idiosyncratic, it’s also completely universal. Failure can differentiate, individualize, and even sometimes alienate us. Just as easily though, failure can unite and motivate us.

Then comes the question: If failure looks and feels different to everyone, what exactly does “failure” mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines failure as “an omission of occurrence or performance,” “a lack of success,” or “a falling short.” But we’re back to square one — if failure is a lack of success, how do you define success?

Failure and success go hand in hand. You can’t talk about failure without talking about success, and the same is true vice versa. To a lot of people, failure is seen as a lack of success; when really, it’s the perfect counterbalance. It’s the yin to success’ yang.

To put it another way, imagine a weighted scale. At first, you’ll probably overshoot your target and one side will come crashing down. You’ll make some adjustments, push it back a little, and eventually find your way to a balanced center. The same is true with failure and success. You almost always need an adjustment or a learning period to get to where you need to be.

Failure means you’re moving ever closer to a balanced center — to your success. It means you have more opportunities for growth and to absorb new information. It means you have ambitions and are trying things that are either unfamiliar or unknown, and that’s incredible. Failure is incredible. It shouldn’t be seen as a negative, however, it should be seen as an equal and balanced part of a bigger picture.

What does failure mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

xx, The FabFitFun Team