Failure as an Inevitable Part of Success Essay Example

  • Category: Goals, Life,
  • Words: 1646 Pages: 6
  • Published: 06 June 2021
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Shah Rukh Khan, a famous indian actor, once proclaimed, "Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble". As the world dictates what is right compared to wrong, one must sit above society understanding that failure is an outstanding educator: teaching one every way not to achieve a goal, but allowing them to attain success by themselves. In the nonfiction short story "Right to Fail" by William Zinsser, the author discusses how every human was born allowed to flunk, and failing is not necessary unacceptable or second-rate compared to success. In Paul Tough's article, "What if the Secret to Success is Failure?", Tough examines two polar schools, Riverdale Country School and KIPP, seeing how standardized tests measures intellect, or do not measure intellect, and speaking to the dean's understanding ways they would be able to implement new curriculum into the schooling systems.

Marcel Schwantes’s "" article on New Year Resolutions looks into research to find the percent of people who reach their goals.An article by "" looks at Donald Trump's quotes on wealth and business and analyzes how he was born into riches. The "Stanford Commencement Speech" by Steve Jobs, the Founder of Apple, tells the audience about Job's three tips from his life which helped him become the man he was. From all the articles, speeches, and stories a protruding idea of success and failure stick out like a green thumb. In order to reach a level of success, one must work extremely assiduously and assimilate from previous mistakes, or be exceptionally lucky and be born into success; however, the truth of the matter is that most people do not prosper and end up failing multiple times throughout their life. 

Success and failure are words created to distinguish our actions as either right or wrong. Success derives from the Latin word successus, which meant: a result or outcome, while failure comes from the Anglo-French word failer, which meant: be lacking or deficiency. The original definition of failure did not have the type of connotation it does now, instead it was made to show one that there was a better outcome. Now those definitions have changed, according to the Oxford Dictionary success means, “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”, while failure means, “lack of success”. Over the past couple centuries these definitions have slightly changed making success more of a positive word, while failure is more negative.

However, failure is, in no means, the worst possible thing to happen to someone, and is rather one of the best. If one were to try something new and always be the best and always succeed, they will never learn anything. On the other hand, someone who ends up messing up when they try something new, will learn from experience and walk out of the situation smarter. In the sixth paragraph of Zinsser’s article, the writer asked, “What they should say is ‘Don’t be afraid to fail!’ Failure isn’t fatal. Countless people have had about with it and come out stronger as a result. Many have even come out famous” (Zinsser 2). An example of this is Jim Carrey, a comedian who made it big. At the start of his career, Carrey was a high school dropout who worked as a janitor to support his family. He got booed off his first performance, but did not give up, and today has become successful in the eyes of Americans. At the start of his career Carrey seemed like a complete failure who had nothing coming for him. But this failure taught him what not to do in his next performance. If he never failed and ended up getting the best reactions from the crowd on his first performance, he may have never achieved the greatness and honor he has today. Though there may be no extent to which one must fail, but it is imminent that one must fail in order to learn and achieve success. 

Striving for success

Everyone, at least once in their life, has had the desire to succeed, but many fall short of their goals. Every year on December 31st at midnight people come together to celebrate the New Year and they set New Year resolutions for themselves, or goals that they wish to achieve during the year that is to come. According to “” a study at the University of Scranton has been conducted that states, Marcel Schwantes used a study from the University of Scranton in his "" article to assert, "Did you know that a staggering 92 percent of people that set New Year's goals never actually achieve them?” (Schwantes 1). In life the real success or goal is to come out with a good job and make a sufficient amount of money to live off and spend on oneself. In reality most people do not end up with their dream jobs or dream homes, and it is not always because they have not learned enough from their failures. No matter how much one has failed in life it is not accurate to say that they will eventually succeed. In the body paragraphs of "What if the Secret to Success is Failure" by Tough, the dean of KIPP states, “According to a report that KIPP issued last spring, only 33 percent of students who graduated from a KIPP middle school 10 or more years ago have graduated from a four-year college” (Tough 3).

But wait, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates dropped out of college and they are some of the world’s most successful people. All around us are inspirational quotes and stories of men and women who have hit an all time low in life and have somehow pulled themselves up and ended up becoming some of the richest people ever. If this happened to the majority of the population then being wealthy would not be amazing. Coming back to the real world most of the students who do end up dropping out of college may not become the next the Bill Gates and will, instead, work at a local McDonalds or worse. An education is one of the most important factors to becoming successful whether one values grades or not. In other words, though there may be many inspirational articles and quotes stating that failing will help in the road to success, it is mostly true that one will not achieve success or get even close to it; famous people like Steve Jobs are rare cases.

No balance

While some people work hard to achieve their goals, others are born into success, not having to do anything to get there. All the children of the royal family are born into riches and servants and maids who will help them do anything they desire. The moment a new member of the family is added, they start making headlines and instantly become famous not having to do a thing.  A prime example of someone who was born successful is our own president, Donald Trump. In an interview with Trump on “Proviso”, the president was discussing his childhood, and recalled, "My dad gave me a small loan of a million dollars"(Politico 0:23). Even though Trump built his business by himself, he had many people guiding him on what to do and how to do it. In a way for Trump his success was a matter of fate and luck, if his father had not so generously loaned him a million dollars, and if he was not born into an already multi-millionaire family, then he might of not become a multi billionaire today. Unfortunately, for the rest of us who are not born into fortune, or lucky enough for success to come knocking at our door, one must work hard to get where they would like to go.

Though, as previously mentioned, most people do not achieve the amount of success they want in life even after working hard, but hard work does have benefits. Anytime one works hard toward something they achieve a level of success, and one can see this through Steve Jobs. In Jobs "Stanford Commencement Speech", while discussing his past he announced, “I found what I loved to do early in life.

Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees"(Jobs 11). Realistically looking most people will not be able to turn a small business into a two billion dollar one, but the real lesson here is the amount of work Jobs put into the company. When he started the company he was a college drop out and he was in his parents garage, a place the average person can see themselves. Then from here he worked really hard with his friend to make a company, and there was some luck/fate involved where his company grew really big. The moral is that there are no rules or guidelines on how to achieve success. Some people are lucky and have it all the first day of their life, while others have to put in effort in order to reach a small amount of success.

Success and failure, two very ambiguous terms, bring up many arguments and discussions. Throughout the various articles, short stories, and websites, it can be seen that there is no such thing as true success, and despite attempts by society to establish rules on how to achieve success, each and every person has their own perception of it. Failure, while regarded as unsatisfactory, is needed to learn and grow, so that one can later succeed. Some people have it easy in life, or easier than others, and are born with success written all over them; while others must work hard in life to achieve success even close to that. Whether one believes they are currently achieving success or if one believes they are failing, it is important to know that either one is fine and that failure is just a step back to take two steps forward.

Work Cited

Gass, Nick. “Trump: My Dad Gave Me a 'Small Loan' of a Million Dollars.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 26 Oct. 2015,

Schwantes, Marcel. “Science Says 92 Percent of People Don't Achieve Their Goals. Here's How the Other 8 Percent Do.”, Inc., 26 July 2016,

Stanford University. “Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement Address (2005).” Lack of Brain Protein Causes Sleeping Disorder Narcolepsy in Humans: 9/2000, 12 June 2017,

Tough, Paul. “What If the Secret to Success Is Failure?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Sept. 2011,

Zinsser, William. “The Right to Fail.” The Right to Fail,



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