Failure Is The Best Way To Learn


As the Mythbusters would say, “Failure is always an option.” When it comes to failing a course in college, maybe not (and no, I haven’t done that, thankfully), but for the most part, I definitely agree. I believe I’ve touched on this subject before, but I’d like to elaborate on it today.

When it comes to code, failure is definitely the way to learn. Sure it may induce screaming and throwing pencils at the wall, but trust me when I say that if you make the same code mistake over and over again, you learn what not to do fairly quickly. Personally, I comment the hell out of my code. I’ve written things where every single line is commented, even if the comment was among the lines of “This prints ‘Hello World!’ as a new line of text.” Why? Well, when your comments include things like “End of line is still a ; not , dumbass,” you learn why your code keeps crashing halfway through.

In general though, repeated failures of the same task are something you shouldn’t ignore. Analyze why something keeps failing. While yes, not everyone learns from repetition (I’m one of them), hopefully something will stick in the back of your mind to raise a red flag.

Perhaps one of my best (stupid) failures was caused by a failure to read directions. I once missed out on twenty point on an exam for missing “Assume loops have already been defined where necessary.” Needless to say, I solved the code problem with all of the loops necessary written in. My code was right, but it wasn’t the right answer. So yeah, I was pretty damn pissed that the entire problem was marked wrong on account of that, both at the professor and myself.

Alright, enough code examples. There are plenty of other fields that failure serves as a good teacher in. While it may be an extreme example, failure in life or death situations should be a damn good way to learn. Seriously though, if you make a mistake, learn from it. Trust me when I say professors (and your teachers before college too) will point out when you constantly make the same mistake (well, at least the good ones do).

Now, while I may have it made it sound like I love failure, I don’t. But, it’s a valuable lesson teacher. Don’t ignore failure, it will come back to bite you in the ass down the road. Failure is hardly ever sweet, especially when it’s important that you don’t fail in something. While it is possible to avoid making the same mistake repeatedly, avoiding failure is impossible. There is no one, nor thing is this world that is perfect. But, that is something that should be valued. We can learn just as much from the failures of others as we can from those of our own.