Failure: The word alone is almost enough to make some people start to hyperventilate (hello, perfectionists of the world).
But sadly, unless you happen to be Beyonce, at some point, you’re probably going to fail at something.
Here’s the thing, though: failure doesn’t have to mean your life becomes an unsalvageable disaster. And actually, the opposite is true. Most of the time, we’ll learn far more from our mistakes than from our successes. Phew.
Don’t believe me? Check out what these celebrities have to say about failure, and I’m sure they’ll change your mind.
1. Tina Fey.
“For my first show at SNL, I wrote a Bill Clinton sketch, and during our read-through, it wasn’t getting any laughs. This weight of embarrassment came over me, and I felt like I was sweating from my spine out. But I realised, ‘Okay, that happened, and I did not die.’ You’ve got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.”
2. Sheryl Sandberg.
The Lean In author (obviously) believes in the power of perseverance.
“…before you drop out, take a deep breath. Maybe you picked the wrong job. Try again. And then try again.”
3. Amy Poehler.
“I’ve failed a million times on stage, just not getting laughs. I’ve listened to notes that I knew weren’t right. I’ve pitched ideas and let other people change them, knowing that it was the wrong choice. The question you have to ask yourself is: How do you want to fail? Do you want to fail in a way that feels like it respects your tastes and value system?”
4. Oprah Winfrey.
In 2013, the media personality told a class of Harvard graduates that even the most crazy-successful of us will stuff up at some point:
“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point, you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher and higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. When that moment comes, it’s okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost. But then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are.”
5. JK Rowling.
The Harry Potter author was famously rejected countless times before her series was published. She’s on the record as saying:
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
6. Ellen DeGeneres.
“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.”
7. Elizabeth Gilbert.
“After college, I got a job as a diner waitress, kept working, kept writing, kept trying really hard to get published, and failing at it. I failed at getting published for almost six years. So for almost six years, every single day, I had nothing but rejection letters waiting for me in my mailbox. And it was devastating every single time, and every single time, I had to ask myself if I should just quit while I was behind and give up and spare myself this pain. But then I would find my resolve, and always in the same way, by saying, “I’m not going to quit.”
Have you ever experienced failure? How did you turn things around?