Why do we fail?

There are an infinite amount of bite sized inspirational quotes about failure that are recycled in the void of the internet and meeting room posters around the world. Regardless of how we experience or perceive failure, it’s never any easier. The adversity and obstacles we face on our journey is what makes the journey what it is, but we cannot deny the soul crushing weight of failure. So why do we fail? Here are 3 reasons why.


Sometimes we fail before we even begin. In some cases, our preparation fails us and as a result, we fail in the execution later. We may even feel like we have done everything within our power to fully prepare for the task ahead, but  have overlooked a simple step that unraveled our actions (or inability to act) later. Sometimes it is only with reflection after failure has occurred that we are able to see what we missed in our preparation.

20170718_110105External Factors

We are sometimes guilty of stressing about things that we have no control over. On occasion, this is not harmful, but when we become transfixed on external factors to the point that it leads us to distraction and affects our performance, this can lead to failure. For over-thinkers, this can often be the biggest cause of failure. From a small thought about something out of our control, the stress and anxiety related to this thought can grow exponentially if unchecked by regulating and controlling ones’ thoughts. We have to accept that there are things we have no control over and cast them from our minds if we wish to succeed in our endeavors.


I have seen so many people enter into a pursuit with so much motivation, energy or enthusiasm that there seems that there is nothing that could stop this person from achieving what they set out to. However, I have seen these same individuals crumble or cower at the first sign of adversity. This may come down to willpower or a lack of resilience. We develop Willpower through testing ourselves, this often means having failed before, but having the discipline to rise again to the same challenge again and again until it is complete. I repeat to my students, like some broken record “the only time you fail is when you give up.” Have the willpower to see something through to the end and vindicate every trip and stumble you had to make on the way to success.



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