The trouble with success stories is that you only ever remember the success. Sure, most tell of harder times with ‘rags to riches’ bylines and ‘before I was famous’ anecdotes. But when all is said and done, do we focus on Mark Zuckerberg’s struggle to borrow his first few bucks or do we focus on his fuck the world, Facebook masterplan? I’m going to say the latter.

People say that my Generation, Generation Y, aspire too much. That we want it all now and honestly believe we can have it too. Our parents took jobs to pay the bills, while we hunt for the job we love. For the one that keeps us up in the night because we’re excited, not because we’re dreading going to work the next day.  And well..duh? Why would you get up in every morning and do something you hate?  Our generation is paralysed by the fear of being ordinary, of not making a difference or leaving a mark. But as we all fight to pioneer, the gap between what we’re doing and what we think we should be doing widens and in that gap, lives the F word: Failure.

Failure threatens to overrule even the most impassioned among us and if we’re not careful,  it can even override our need for success. Giving up is the easy option and occasionally the right one. But if you can make it through failure and not give up, eventually you’ll overtake all those who failed before you. And you will succeed.

So next time you think you’re failing, when that glimmer of giving up starts to seem a little brighter, remember these 5 things:


You Have To Pass Failure To Reach Success (and collect £200)

Being truly successful, takes hardwork. If it didn’t, then every person who cheated their way to a Degree or blackmailed their way into a business, could be classed as a success and luckily for us, they aren’t. Thanks to a little friend called Karma, things just never work out that way. So each time you do experience failure, just remember that you’re moving that little bit closer to success. You may have to hit failure 100 times to get there but eventually you will succeed and even if you still don’t, your success will be that you never gave up.

Failure Makes You Hungry

It is actually failure which fuels the qualities that lead to success. The fear of having no money, will inspire someone to work hard at getting a degree and a well-paid job. The fear of working a boring job can kick someone into leaving to pursue what they really love. If anything, we need failure to keep going. When you’re feeling knackered, down or resentful, failure is the one thing that will make you get back on and carry on.

Every person who craves success has something to prove. But none more, than those who have already failed before. For this reason, failure should be seen as a learning experience, a stepping stone, to bigger and better things that you otherwise might never experience.

There’s No Cut Off Age For Success

Not all successful figures made their first Mil from the comfort of their college dorm. J.K.Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Alan Rickman, Professor bloody Snape,  got his first film role aged 46. Barrack Obama was the first black president. After 43 white ones. Nobody gets it right first time. There’s also an element of luck in every success story and it may be a while before you’re in the right place at the right time. Your success does not need to be defined by age, race, location or past credit; as long as you’re still trying, you have the same chance at succeeding as anyone else. It isn’t a race in which you need to finish first. It comes in many forms and in many different stages of life. Yours may just not have come yet.

Failure Makes You Humble

And there’s nothing more attractive than a successful person who still has humility. If you don’t fall at least once on your way up, how will you ever remember what it’s like to have to get back up? It’s all too easy to get carried away by success and take on a sense of entitlement and greed. Failure makes you humble, it gives you a look into the lives of some people who never made it even half as close as you have, and perhaps never will, and this is just as valuable as success.

Success Is Relative

Part of knowing who you are is realising what you classify as success. We’ve been taught to recognise success as a series of material objects like fancy cars and big homes, or as a series of experiences; posh dinners and exotic holidays. When actually, these are by-products of success or by-products of people who have money, regardless of whether they are successful or not. Someone who has won the lottery can have all the beach breaks they like, but that doesn’t neccessarily constitute their life as a success. More importantly, success is a relative concept. For someone who has quite literally scraped themselves from the gutter, getting a job and a roof over their heads defines success. For others, it might be having a family, making a lot of money, or just waking up every morning to do something that they love. Work out what defines your own success and ignore the markers set by society. Because when all things are said and done, you don’t get a list of car number plates on your gravestone.


Image via WeHeartIt


Beth Gladstone

Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.

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