You Can’t Succeed Unless You Know How To Fail

Perfection is a Myth

Steve Arrowsmith MA


Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

“You won’t win until you learn how to lose. I don’t like to do it, to lose, but I can stand it. Along with everything else, you have to acquire the ability to accept defeat. No one makes it without stumbling.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem

First thing first, perfection is a myth. An absolute lie. It is a position of thought that will ultimately lead to your failure. While it is an awesome position to aim for, and in doing so, will affect your life positively, it is impossible to be perfect in all things. Of course, you can be perfect in achieving some things, such as reading your religious text every day, or attending the gym every day, hence you may argue you are perfect. However, that is one thing, not everything.

Now, here comes the kicker. Failure is a necessary step on your journey to success. Often failure can teach you more than success ever will. As Albert Einstein noted, “Failure is success in progress.”

Failure and success are points in your life; they are not descriptors of you. Zig Ziglar argued, “Failure is an event, not a person.”

Every so-called successful person will always tell you, if they are truthful, that their journey to success was littered with failure. For example, every drug addict who finally becomes clean will tell you that relapse or failure is part of the journey to sobriety. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Failure and success are mindsets. The way you interpret both or the paradigm glasses you look through determined what happens next. As Nelson Mandela reminded us, “I never lose, I either win or I learn.” I would suggest that no matter what we learn anyway. If we want to, that is. “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change maybe,” said the iconic coach, John Wooden.

I have failed many times during my long life, and I achieved much also. I have met the dark depths of despair and almost didn’t pull through. I have, likewise, succeeded dramatically by achieving what seemed to be the impossible. In his epic poem, IF…



Steve Arrowsmith MA

I live &write on two continents ⚽🏈 teacher, coach, and writer. Religious cults/Mormonism are my main interests. Contact me at