Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Failure Is the Seed of Growth and Success

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's no secret that our worst fear is often failure. But what if failure was actually a good thing?


"Failure is success in progress," Albert Einstein once said.

The great scientist was on to something. Encountering our fears and failures prompts the most necessary changes in our lives and our businesses.

Related: Biggest Failures, Best Advice and Defining Success From 14 Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Here's why every person, and every business, needs to fail at some point -- for failure is the very seed of growth and success.

1. Failure creates extraordinary change.

Failure can act as a seed for two things: a road to despair or a springboard to growth. What grows out of the initial failure is entirely up to the person who "failed."

It's easy to become downtrodden and lose motivation when things don't go as planned. Instead, use the failure as a mechanism to reset your perspective, make a mental change or embark on a new, much-needed direction.

Failure is necessary to shake things up. Otherwise, we would coast along comfortably but we wouldn't make any quantum leaps.

2. Failure builds tough skin.

Failure has an effect similar to a calloused heal. It's the protective layer we acquire from going around the block a few times and hitting a few bumps. Left soft and unprotected, we easily become injured. Failure builds a thick skin that can help anyone enter the big leagues without fear.

3. Failure keeps the ego in check.

Remaining down to earth and honest is a challenge in today's business world. When deal after deal is going through seamlessly and business is on a steep incline, it's easy to get a big head.

Related: Failure: The Key Ingredient to Winning

With that, those experiencing constant success may even resort to dishonesty if it means not losing what they have. They become slaves to success and before realizing it, they'll do anything to stay on top, things they would never have imagined. Partnerships and friendships are ruined. Family conflicts abound. It's all downhill from there, maybe except for the bank account.

Failure humbles us when we so desperately need to be humbled. It helps us remember where we came from and keeps us in check.

4. Failure creates "aha" moments.

Failure creates the moment when something is finally seen, found or understood in a way like never before -- the "aha" moment. Why?

It's just like solving a complicated math problem. It's tough to understand at first, but walk away for a moment and, suddenly, something clicks. The answer just comes out of nowhere.

But it's not really coming from "nowhere." It comes from a buildup within our minds as the constricting thoughts of failure and fear expand. The expansion results in an explosive energy that breaks us out of constriction and into a highly energetic, creative state when things become clear and new insight is gained.

5. Failure propels growth as an entrepreneur.

Failure prepares us for what lies ahead. Entrepreneurs come across things they didn't know they needed to know almost every day. Failures catalyze much of this knowledge because they are unexpected. How else do we learn what we don't know we need to know? It's never something that can be planned.

Related: Richard Branson on Bouncing Back From Failure

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks