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What is your definition of failure?

I have seen people struggle in different ways based on the task or project we take up. Does that mean we all struggle in the same way? #college


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61 answers


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Carter’s Answer

Hey Murtaza,

This is a great question!

Everybody is unique and has their own definition on what constitutes true failure for them. We all do not struggle the same way. In my experiences throughout my own life and my career path, true failure is when you commit your very being into something (whether it be an assignment, major exam, job etc.), you fall short of your expectations, and then ultimately give up because you cannot cope with the fact that you could not hit your objective. I believe that when you give up, that is when you fail. It's crucial to understand that whatever endeavors/goals you set for yourself in life, you cannot let setbacks stop you from achieving your goals. Failure breeds success. Some of the most successful people in this world have failed a countless amount of times before they ever became successful. Failure is often times necessary because it will force you to think/act differently. You will learn so much through failure, always be cognizant of that!

Good luck in your journey my friend!

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Keith’s Answer

Everyone in life has different definitions for the word "Failure". A previous mentor of mine told me that "Failure" was not the act itself, but the act of giving up, or not wanting to get back up after we get defeated in some form, shape, or fashion. If you have time, look into the company that makes WD40 & find out why it is called this name.

Keith recommends the following next steps:

I am going to recommend a book to you that I have read several times. The name of the book is "Failing Forward" by John C Maxwell. My favorite chapter is #15.
Perhaps as a recommendation, define what "Success" looks like and the word "Failure" will become less dominant. :)

A focus on success is a great perspective. Then failure just becomes part of the journey. Gloria Ortiz

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Dee’s Answer

My definition of failure is "not trying". If you don't try you won't learn anything and that's failure. I think it is all in your mindset. There is a book

called "ADAPT: Why Success Always Starts with Failure". Everything is trial and error and there is always room for improvement. It is always a

journey to learn and adapt along the way.

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Debjeet’s Answer

I will keep it short and sweet. My definition of failure has always been a small roadblock on your way towards your goal. Nothing more. Always keep in mind that "Failure is the pillar of success."

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Jimmy’s Answer

I believe as long as you genuinely embark on something, you either win or you learn, there is no failure. As one of my favorite shows puts it
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" Wayne Gretzky -Michael Scott


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Tom’s Answer

Failure is giving up prematurely , give it a chance

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Anaya’s Answer

Failure for me is just a step in the ladder to accomplish my goals. It is an opportunity to do better than I did before.

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Syed’s Answer

Different people have aptitude in different things. Some folks have a higher aptitude overall and better circumstances in life. Thus, some people struggle with things that come naturally to others. In general, society rewards confident extroverts who are willing to strategically challenge authority. When you’re outside of that archetype, you have to be exceptional in some other way to succeed if you want to rise to the top.

I would define failure as when you let yourself, your teammates, your advisor/supervisor/reviewer and your target audience down. For example, when a team has a stellar regular season but gets bounced in the first round of the playoffs because the star player did not play well. The key is to fail early in the process so you can learn from your mistakes and push forward with new perspectives/information. The later in the process you experience failure, the harder it is to react and recover. When going for any major endeavor in life and career, always do a “risk assessment” up front to anticipate what could go wrong and how you might react. This helps “mitigate risk” or reduce risk.

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Piyush’s Answer

Hey Murtaza, term 'failure' is just one's perspective. To some its seen as lessons learnt, whereas to others its a realisation to do something more.

We have been raised from the childhood to understand the definition of the success and its so much in our DNA that when we are not able to achieve something that we thought we could, we term that state as 'failure'. Now there might be many reasons behind the why and what of the situation that led to the moment. But, at that moment, the most important questions one must ask him/herself are:

1. Have I given my best to what I wanted to do?
2. Have I learnt anything from it?
3. Do I know what I want to do next?

If at that moment one can answers of all the above three questions, one understands the perspective and definition behind the term "Failure". To some its seen as lessons learnt, whereas to others its a realisation to do something more.


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Jonathan’s Answer

I really like this question! I think everyone has their own definition of failure, I remember getting ready to graduate high school and thinking to myself “I haven’t decided where I’m going to go for college” at that moment I thought of myself as a failure. I went to a community college and halfway through I found a job in sales, I saw opportunity for myself within sales and kept going. Over time I quickly found my version of failure was not giving myself a chance to succeed. I was so afraid to quit that community college because I thought I was quitting on myself, which in turn would make me look like a failure. When in reality I had done well for myself in sales that it kept opening more and more doors. I was succeeding without realizing it, ultimately failure is something that can be defined in so many ways by so many people but I believe failure is not allowing someone or something the chance to succeed.

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Nicole’s Answer

Personally, failure is not learning from an experience. There have been plenty of times I have "failed" but when I look back it made me stronger every time.

I failed a class during college - it helped me learn which areas I was most interested and I came up with better ways to study and be more productive

I quit my first big job after college - I realized I was in a role that didn't use my full potential (and I wasn't particularly great at) and I pivoted to a company and career I really love

There are so many defining moments in my life that were considered "failures" but each one brought me closer to success.

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Lakeisha’s Answer

Failure can be looked at as you're not good enough or make a person feel like they need to give up throw in the towel. No.. not at all. Truthfully, failure is only when you giving up. I have done things and failed not once but twice and although I've felt discouraged along the way; I never gave up. Instead, I came up with a different method and thought process. Nothing or no one is perfect, so when you fail at something that just a lesson learned. There is no success without failure. Never give up or stop trying . There is power to failure, you just have learn how to deal with it and grow from it. Keep trying, keep failing success will follow!

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Satyesh’s Answer

Hi Murtaza,

FAILURE for me is a very important step in achieving something. It is not something that I get upset about, it rather reflects the precise areas in which one needs improvisation. And working hard for that makes one very much more efficient and prepared for the next try. Truly said "Failures are the stepping stones to success"

Thanks

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Padmapriya’s Answer

Hi Murtaza,

Great question. Failure is the stepping stone to success. If we don't fail it means we are not experimenting new things.

I would like to quote about failure from Swami Vivekananda,

Never mind failures; they are quite natural, they are the beauty of life--these failures. What would life be without them? It would not be worth having if it were not for struggles.

We become wiser through failures. Time is infinite.

Take Courage and Work On!!

Good Luck!!


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Darrell’s Answer

Struggling with things in life is just way to see that we are growing in that subject. You can not grow by doing the things you already know how to do. Embrace the challenges in life and count all things as learning opportunities. I hope this helps!

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Nand’s Answer

Definition of failure is individual's perspective.

According to me failure is not about failing to achieve something, failure is not about not able to complete the goal you decided for yourself.

Rather

Failure is not learning your mistake, not realizing what went wrong and not able to accept your own mistake.

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madhulika’s Answer

Most people fail at some point in their lives. Failure is a reality of Life. It’s a necessary and fundamental part of life. They give us lessons that are must-haves for success.
So according to me word Failure should be replaced by Experience. There is always something you can Learn from your mistakes or so called failure.
In my point of view, failure is something which let us constantly learn with more enthusiasm and hard work. Failure is not the result but a practice to get passed in a satisfied way.

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Rayya’s Answer

We don't struggle the same. or fail the same, just like we don't learn the same or succeed the same.

I think, in any context, failure for me would be to know what you should/could/need to do, but not even try.

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Kateena’s Answer

Everyone definition of failure is different. For me failure constitute as allowing obstacles, setbacks, hard time even life stop you from accomplishing your goal. There is nothing wrong with stepping back and looking over mistakes and correcting them. The essential key is not to give up. Take a break or breather , reevaluate what you want your goal to be but do not give up!

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Ramya’s Answer

Struggle is an indication of growth.Its not necessary that we all would struggle in the same way.Struggles can be easily over come by putting in your hardwork and dedication and keeping a positive outlook!

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Nagendra’s Answer

It is just a thought you have on it or you judge that you have not achieved what you need. Sometimes failure should have been considered a better way is about to come in your life. Have faith and trust in Almighty. FAIL- FIRST ATTEMPT IN LEARNING- so never hesitate to take the next attempt. :)

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Shanim’s Answer

The definition of failure varies for each and every individual, for me failure is not falling down but refusing to get up .

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Nithin’s Answer

Failure is when you stop trying. Otherwise it's a stepping stone to success.
The ones who you see with great success have failed multiple times in their life.
Without failure you wont have the chance to correct yourself.
Hence accept failure and find ways to move ahead.

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Arunkumar’s Answer

Failure is deemed negative but if you think over it, it is indeed a positive term that plays an integral role in climbing up the stairs of success.
Everyone will face failure at one point of time in their career. Keep trying and learn from your mistakes.

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Samantha’s Answer

To me failure is an accomplishment. To fail at something it means you tried to achieve a task. Everyone has their own definition of failure because we all perceive not completing something perfectly in a different way, i.e a math test some find a B to be acceptable and a success where as others wont accept anything beside an A as success . The most important thing about failing is looking back at the situation and asking yourself what could I have done differently to change the outcome of the task. You then need to use your self reflection to determine what you are going to do differently going forward. When we "fail" at something we feel vulnerable and sometimes want to put walls up when getting feedback from others. Whether it be in that moment or a few hours, days, whatever amount of time you need to look at the feedback given, it is important to acknowledge and makes changes based on this because it is another person perspective of the situation and is most likely being given from a source of past experience and is only there to help you improve. Through out my career I have built mentor relationships with past colleagues and lean in on these people when I feel I have failed at something.

Samantha recommends the following next steps:

Self Reflect on what could have been done differently to make the task a success
Find a colleague or classmate that can be your mentor

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David’s Answer

Back then my definition for FAILURE is when everything does not come complete such as yourself, your friends, your team, and more just let you go or lead the wrong direction and not mention anything or try to stop you from falling. And you just let it keep on going and not turn your head and trying to see how you fail. Another way of saying is like you are digging a hole and you keep on digging the deeper it gets the harder for you to go back to the surface and no one is there to help you and you are on your own. But now and days I don't see FAILURE, I see let's take a step back, ask question to yourself, to other, and to society to see what you are doing or going to be doing wrong and try to fix it, like drafting and seeing the pros and cons, as well as always try to identify the problem that will cause you to fail. In order not to fail, is to question yourself and what you are doing.

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Jackie’s Answer

Everybody has their own obstacles when it comes to learning especially learning new things. For example, some tasks or projects might come easy to others such as test taking or memorizing, but lack in sports and fitness. Everybody has their strengths and their weaknesses, and everybody struggles from their weaknesses. If there are things that are you are having a difficulty achieving then don't let that stop you, allow it to challenge you to do better the next time, and know that practice makes perfect.

Some even struggle with learning disabilities; however, through tutoring and lots of practice can still be achieved. Also, know that failure is apart of life and that life would not be what it is if everything was handed to us; we have to prove its worth by working hard for it. That's what makes life difficult because when we fail we think to give up but this is life's way of tricking us.

If you are struggling with a task and can seek out help this is most advised because whether its a physical or mental task, two heads are better than one; meaning someone else's advice or help can be useful for a different perspective.

Know that you should never give up!

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Manish’s Answer

HI Murtuza,

We ALL Struggle. "Struggle " should be seen as a New Learning opportunity rather than a tired activity.

It's just that some people gets the learning, by quickly seeing other people struggle and Others learn by self committing errors.

Struggle becomes a tiresome activity if it is accompanied by other factors like fear of entering unknown zone.

I usually encounter Struggle by writing negative thoughts that come in during struggle phase and then final outcome i see when i come out of the struggle, which indicates lots of negative thoughts that i had were not only baseless but never happened during the struggle. So remembering the past experience and moving forward with hope, thats the way it is for me.

Cheers!
Manish

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Virat’s Answer

Struggle is the inherent part of life. The day we stop struggling we are dead. The struggle could be to get success as you define it & then there is always a struggle to make up for the position of success.

The 'Failure' in my definition is either you stopped trying or you missed to act on time. But what is important is to take the lessons from your failures as these are the most valuable things they leave behind. Also keep failures in mind not to fear but to remember the magnitude you need to enhance to overcome next time !!

Good Luck for your success !!

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Tejaswini’s Answer

Hi Murtaza!
I think the definition of failure is very personal to every individual. What is failure to me may not be a failure to you. Often, to me failure is when my expectations are not met. Let me give you a broad example. Suppose I attended an exam and after the exam, I felt I did a great job and expected great results. However, the results turned out to be very different. That would be a failure from my perspective, because I failed to meet my own expectations and would thrive harder the next time.
I also believe that giving up without offering our 100% effort is also a form failure. Irrespective of the result, if we gave our 100% effort, that would still be a success.

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Pradeep Kumar’s Answer

Failure is just one word which indicates that you might have to rethink about your strategy and plan in a better way and then move towards your goal. There might be multiple ways to achieve your goal, So failure simply mean that one way didn't work out the way you were expecting but again its a learning process you can't master in one attempt. Try, Learn , improve , replan and move forward towards your end goal. Eventually you will achieve your goal. So in short there is nothing like failure.

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Capria’s Answer

Murtaza,

Failure is something that can be difficult to label. I would say failure could be defined as when you didn't give your all. If you are doing everything you can and trying to the best of your abilities and beyond then it is impossible to fail. However failure doesn't signify the end of the road, ultimately it is a push to keep you going and to help you realize your true potential. Don't be afraid to fail, what is important is that you get back up and keep pushing.

Capria

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JOSEPH’s Answer

Great question.
There is no such item as failure. There are learning opportunities. If you try something that in your mind is not a success, take away the items that you feel you could of done better and build upon those items. As long as you try you are succeeding.

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Krishna’s Answer

When we stop keep trying until get the success. whatever you learnt from the failure, a successful person will never able to teach. So, learn from the failure and keep trying for success.

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Bernard’s Answer

Failure is the opportunity to learn. If you ever feel that you failed in some way, think to yourself, what can I learn from this? Even that answer could fail. LEARN! LEARN! LEARN! That's the opportunity. Tip: Write it down. Keep a journal/log. That way you can track your successes and failures.

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Surabhi’s Answer

Hi Murtaza,

There are already very good answers around how we can take failure as a path to success.

Another times, when I have felt myself a failure is "when I have not given my best" towards a goal. So, I think we should always consider being positive and motivated to working towards our goal.

Thanks,
Surabhi

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Kapildev’s Answer

Everyone in Life experience Failure at any step, but the real failure is when you don't try again after the failure.

Get the Experience of each and every step and move to SUCCESS.


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Sankar’s Answer

A FEAR OF NOT ATTEMPTING IS A FAILURE.

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Darrell’s Answer

Struggling with things in life is just way to see that we are growing in that subject. You can not grow by doing the things you already know how to do. Embrace the challenges in life and count all things as learning opportunities. I hope this helps!

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Joyal’s Answer

This is my perspective.
Failure for me is not giving my best. The outcome doesn't matter, it's the journey that counts.
Be it an assignment in college or a high profile project at work, when one drives it with all his/her passion the learnings can be abundant.
These learnings then transcend into a major personal win irrespective how successful the final outcome turns out.

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Martin’s Answer

Murtaza I have to be honest I find this question so personally interpretive. To me failure is a necessity as it's our greatest teacher. If we knew everything we would have nothing to learn and no way to fail or find a way to not do it. The glass half full or silver lining approach is the most appropriate way to understand this.



Best of luck

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Ravi’s Answer

There is no definition of failure...It is how you handle the failure is the point.
If you stop after failure then that is actual failure but if you move ahead then it is a step toward success.

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Ari’s Answer

I would say that failure is being too stubborn or scared to ask for help when you need it. You can chase your dreams but when you don't understand something, you are failing yourself by not asking the questions that you should. You might also be failing your classmates because there is always someone else that has the same question as you.

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Shitanshu’s Answer

failure - As a word itself tell us that you are not capable to do certain task or get the desired result which you all looking for . But Being human we are expected to fail at certain stage of our life , one should not be depressed by failure ,rather one should be taking this as a new opportunity for learning . As no body is born perfect , and we are allowed to make mistakes which lead us to failure . So instead of being depressed or get tensioned by failure , we should be trying to work on thing which lead us to failure and give a reattempt . failure is a best way of learning new things as when u get success in certain field we think that we know everything related to that subject . but failure give us opportunity to rework and master on certain subjects where we were lagging earlier . Instead of thinking about result one should be focus on there end goal and target

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Keith’s Answer

Everyone in life has different definitions for the word "Failure". A previous mentor of mine told me that "Failure" was not the act itself, but the act of giving up, or not wanting to get back up after we get defeated in some form, shape, or fashion. If you have time, look into the company that makes WD40 & find out why it is called this name.

Keith recommends the following next steps:

I am going to recommend a book to you that I have read several times. The name of the book is "Failing Forward" by John C Maxwell. My favorite chapter is #15.
Perhaps as a recommendation, define what "Success" looks like and the word "Failure" will become less dominant. :)

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Anusha’s Answer

Once succeeded not always succeeded and same is with the failure.

But the more we think we are limited, the more we are limited. Simply because our doubtful thoughts makes us blind to see the opportunities when they are in front of us.

So success or failure is not permanent, change is the only constant.

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Bhanu’s Answer

Hi, I think the definition of failure is very personal to every individual. It means different to different people. What maybe a failure for one, might be an opportunity to grow and learn for other. Failure to me is not when you are not able to achieve what you want at your first attempt. Failure is when you want something but even quit trying to get it because of fear of failure.

If you keep trying, you never fail :)

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Surbhi’s Answer

We all do struggle but there are people to whom things come naturally while some have to put in additional effort. Failure is when you are working on the task in a given direction without seeking feedback and assuming its correct and setting up yourself and your team for failure. Keep looking back and keep iterating while constantly seeking feedback and hence course correcting and learning from your mistakes.

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Surbhi’s Answer

We all do struggle but there are people to whom things come naturally while some have to put in additional effort. Failure is when you are working on the task in a given direction without seeking feedback and assuming its correct and setting up yourself and your team for failure. Keep looking back and keep iterating while constantly seeking feedback and hence course correcting and learning from your mistakes.

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Deepak’s Answer

Giving up is failure. Not trying enough is failure. Letting go of your dreams is a definite failure.

"Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up" - Alfred Pennyworth (From the movie, Dark Knight)

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Vishal’s Answer

Failure is an opportunity to correct your mistakes and improve. Unfortunately so many people are afraid of failure, they quit once they fail. The important thing is to keep learning from failures and keep improving.

Thomas Edison made 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing light bulb when asked about these failures Edison once said, “I have not failed 1,000 times—I’ve successfully found 1,000 ways that will not work.”

Imagine if he had quit after failures.

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Kannan’s Answer

I think the definition varies for every individual… It’s a very broad question so answering specific to your statement about the tasks and project that you take up, for me a failure is something where I have committed a mistake and there is no learning, or I don’t learn anything from it. A repeat of the same mistake is also considered failure in my opinion.

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stefan’s Answer

Hi Murtaza,

Everyone faces struggles and setbacks. Nobody is perfect or an expert on everything. There are many things we do not have any control over. Often the only thing we can control is our reaction. Therefore it is important to focus on how we react. Are we making things worse? Can we make things better? What can we learn from the setback? Most struggles are not unique. Someone, somewhere, at some time had the same or similar struggle. We are not alone in this regard. By reading about, observing, and learning how others have dealt with or deal with struggles, we can gain insight and inspiration. This can make us better prepared to deal with our own struggles.
Good luck and keep learning.

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Charles R’s Answer

My definition of failure is not trying at all. There are many things you will not initially succeed at from the start. If you never start something that you think maybe to difficult, then you have already failed.

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Mario E.’s Answer

To me, there are two types of people when it comes to failure: i) those who have fear to take risks, so they don't often/or never make mistakes, or do something out of their confort zone and ii) people who sometimes or often make mistakes, because they take the risks and the actions. Within the people willing to take risks, there are two additional types of people: i) those who learn from failure and ii) those who don't.

In our culture, failure is not widely accepted, however, this is changing. I think failure can be either a source of discovery and new valuable knowledge about ourselves or the evidence for some to stop trying. Failure is what you choose to be for you. Choose wisely, do your best, be willing to take risks and learn from failure fast!

Edison failed many times before he invited the bulb.


Mario

Hi Mario, I had to edit your post and remove your link because it contained profanity. Gurpreet Lally

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Lester’s Answer

Failure is subjective to the individual. One person's perception to have failed might not be the same to another. For me Failure often correlates to not obtaining a desired objective, goal, or thing. Often times this is identified with sports like not winning of game or championship. Most successful people in societies eyes state that they learned more and had more come out of their failures vs their successes. To fail for me has changed throughout my tenure, and currently is defined to me as " me not putting maximum effort into daily tasks and moments to ensure I am getting maximum enjoyment out of whatever it is I am doing." If I am not the most present I can be as well as giving the most effort and commitment to whatever it is I am trying to do, then I have failed myself and that moment."

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Bindu’s Answer

The definition of failure depends on the way we see things. Sometimes we feel we are failing while actually we are succeeding. More than success and failure, we need to break the success path into small milestones and celebrate each time we achieve.

It does not matter much if we lose the final battle but the steps we went through change us a lot in a way that makes us feel we are not same anymore.

So Winning the battle might be the target but every step we follow to get success is necessary.

So keep trying irrespective of success or failure.

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Pushkaraj’s Answer

In one line answer, failure is a step towards success.
Do you remember how many times you fell, before you could successfully ride a bicycle or how many hours you spent on guitar perfecting that song you like.

We all struggle. May be not at the same task, but we all have that one thing we would like to achieve and we keep trying until we succeed. I would say, if you are not failing at a task ever, then that task is too simple for you and you have to move to a difficult task.

My attitude towards failure:
Yes, I failed. That means, there is something I missed, miscalculated, misjudged or did differently. Failure means there is a scope for you to grow. Failure is the key to gain experience. Failure is the challenge that keeps you going. In short, failure is a step towards success.

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Kannan’s Answer

I think the definition varies for every individual… It’s a very broad question so answering specific to your statement about the tasks and project that you take up, for me a failure is something where I have committed a mistake and there is no learning, or I don’t learn anything from it. A repeat of the same mistake is also considered failure in my opinion.

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Saranya’s Answer

My Definition of Failure is not trying and giving up easily. As the Famous quote suggest Failures are the stepping stones to success. Until you are trying and finding an improvement to your previous effort nothing is considered a failure. Each drop of water forms a cloud so each of your failures has something which you should learn and once you have learned you will be showering like the Rain from the cloud.

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Venkatesh’s Answer

Its true that we see few people around us struggle on the task or project they work on ... but when we see the other side there are lot more no. of people who excel in their tasks or project they work on... In general what distinguishes the one from the other is ones interest and commitment towards the task or Project.

Practically speaking its not necessary that people should have the interest in task or project... but once they are truly committed for the task or project with their "Mind and Soul" will bring in interest and get all the support required to Excel...

When people are not truly committed with their "Mind and Soul" we still see them struggle in different ways based on the task or project.

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