5 Reasons Why Failure isn't Always a Bad Thing

With exams practically over and Results Day looming, we know a lot of students are worrying about their exam performance. But success isn't always measured in how we excel alone, sometimes how you pick yourself up after a set-back is just as likely to help you get ahead in life...


Take a look at social media or whatever search engine you use, and you’ll realise there are loads of students, like you, out there worrying about what to do if they 'fail' their exams. What a load of stress your mind could do without! 

We’re going to show you, (using hopefully as few clichés as possible!), why ‘failure’ isn’t always negative and why sometimes a set-back can actually propel you forward in life: 

1. It’s inevitable

If there’s a person out there who’s got through life without experiencing a let-down or failure of some sort… Well, actually, there is no ‘if’. Failure, or what you consider to be a failure, is going to happen to you at some point. 

But it’s not the end, and it doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. It means you’re human and thank goodness for that, because the alternative is you’re some sort of robot/alien, and the government will be after you soon.

The only thing you can do is take disappointment on the chin and think of it as a sign that life is telling you that wasn’t the right path for you.  

If your A-Level results haven’t gone to plan, and this has affected your university choice, remember: it may never have been the right choice for you. You haven’t lost anything, but you have gained an opportunity to have a re-think, consider your options and hopefully find something even better. 

Woman with head down on table with man sitting beside her

Someone who could help put this in perspective for you is student vlogger, 'Unjaded Jade', who was rejected from Oxford University at 18. Here's how she dealt with it and learnt from her experience: 

2. You’ll learn more from it

Nothing sharpens up your brain and makes you think more than a set-back. 

You’ll learn about where your areas for improvement lie, where you could benefit from more research/revision etc. but you’ll also learn a tonne about yourself. You’ll learn how resilient you are, how you react to things not going your way, how you pick yourself up and come back stronger – and that’s more likely to set you up for a successful future. 

Plus, a sharp brain is exactly what you’ll need when you DO start your degree, apprenticeship, travelling, or whatever you decide to do once you’ve had time to adjust your thinking. 

3. You’ll be more likely to take a risk

When the worst thing you can imagine happening, happens, you might find that you’re not so afraid/worried about other things any more. This can lead to some incredible life opportunities. 

Think about it: suddenly that trip abroad you were too scared to make seems less daunting. Who knows, in a year’s time, you could be back from travelling, making up your grades and still going on to the university of your choice. 

You can’t help things going wrong sometimes, but you can do everything in your power to make the best of the situation when things do venture off course. Take a risk, re-align your goal posts and see where life takes you. 

4. It will make you stronger

Facing things you’re afraid of, which make you unhappy, or force you to change your plans WILL make you stronger. 

University, travel, work, (life!) can be challenging - you’ll face things you never saw coming and the stronger you are, the more likely you are to face them successfully. 

How you cope with ‘failure’ will show you how strong you are. If you know you were slacking on revision time and trying to wing your exam results, well, now you know that doesn’t work.

Pick yourself up and come back stronger, with a life plan that will leave people wondering where on earth you got that strength from. 

5. It’ll make success taste sweeter when it comes (which it WILL)

When life knocks you back and you struggle on anyway and get back on your feet, the success which comes after will feel even more incredible. Yep, right now it probably isn’t much of a relief to know that one day you might feel OK again, but future you is going to be proud of your success!

Resilience will get you ahead in life, and the success you earn off the back of your hard work will taste all the sweeter for your trouble. 

And finally, just in case all of the above isn't enough to make you think a bit differently, here's Will Smith's view on failure: 

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