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Learning Is Freedom: Why Is Failure a Gift?

A girl in a orange t-shirt and jeans is running amid a wheat field. Above her, there's a text that reads learning is freedom

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
Friedrich Nietzsche.

We live in a society that is apprehensive about failing. We have many mechanisms to achieve success, from how we dress to how we select our career steps. Yet the value of failure as a learning opportunity, as an opportunity to learn and move forward, isn’t recognized. That’s why learning is freedom.

When we give ourselves a chance to learn, to see the world and our experiences as our teachers, everything changes. A shift in our perspective occurs, giving us the strength to keep going and doing what we are passionate about.

In this scenario, every fall ceases to be a time to mourn and feel bad because we failed. Instead, it becomes an opportunity to understand that learning is freedom, that every fall is a chance to learn something new.

Something new can mean discovering an element of our environment we were not aware of. Yet, the most important lessons are those that make us go within and ask what we learned about ourselves. That’s how failure becomes a gift. That’s how failure tells us what didn’t work to make the necessary changes to start over.

What feedback can we get from failure?

We miss important feedback as we are amid constant judgments about failing. In contrast, we love successful people, yet we seldom recognize their investments, determination, and dedication to learning and moving forward. 

We rarely ask who was behind these people, who encouraged them to innovate and try new things. Moreover, we rarely recognize their courage to take risks and accept their mistakes and try again. 

We support the value of results more than the value of innovation, creation, and creating oneself. In that process, we forget to value failure as a gift of feedback, as the gift of trying something new.

Thus, it is never a loss of time and resources. When we step back, go within, and ask ourselves for the lessons we learned from that process, we are investing. As any successful results are made from mistakes, from trial and error, we could say that failure is even a good thing.

In other words, learning is freedom because we free ourselves from the fear to fail. Now failure is welcome as an opportunity to learn something new. Failure becomes a chance to try again, to keep creating.

Look at it as a journey. Even though we know where we are going, we can’t possibly know what will happen while we are traveling. The people we meet, and the experiences we have while on the road will be with us forever. We just have to think about the lessons we can learn from them.

In conclusion…

Let’s congratulate ourselves for experiencing new things, and for innovating. Today, it is time to take responsibility for a creative life, a life filled with the joy of creation. 

Let’s find a way to feel gratitude for our perceived failures and rename them as “learning opportunities,” as gifts to move us forward to a brighter future, to a life with even more creative potential. 

Let’s celebrate the lives of people who have dared to innovate, learn, and create. They were able to internalize that learning is freedom, and that failure is a gift. So can we.

In gratitude to Dr. W, who always said “kiddo everything is a learning opportunity.”