A post on an internal blog at work recently referred to this post by Seth Godin where success and failure are like two sides of the same coin. A quick Google search revealed many articles along the same vein. However after some thought, I have to disagree with this analogy.
The general consensus is that you can succeed or you can fail, that they are in some way opposites of each other. At first glance that would seem to be true but I choose to look at it this way…
Failure is where we find out how NOT to do something. Failure in itself is a learning experience, it teaches us something about what we are trying to achieve and about ourselves. Failure is simply a step on the road towards success.
The difference between success and failure is the point at which you give up and accept the current outcome. If you give up at any point before achieving your desired outcome (the successful one) then you have failed. Therefore the difference between success and failure is not that they are polar opposites but that you did not see that task through to the end and accepted an undesirable outcome over the preferred one.
You cannot have success without failure but you can have failure without success.
As for the coin analogy, my solution is simple. Change the shape of the coin. Make it a sphere (we ‘could’ have spherical coins, we just don’t). Only one side so only one outcome. Which it is is up to you. Where will you choose to end the journey?