The Gifts of Failure

Lau Ciocan
4 min readJan 12, 2022

We are more than a week into the New Year, and most of us will have made a few New Year resolutions, objectives, goals or whatever label you prefer to use.

According to YouGov nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Brits own up and say they did not keep any of the resolutions they made in 2021 and another 44% kept some, but not all of the resolutions they made. If you ‘failed’ to keep your resolutions in a way or another, that’s okay!

I’m not going to talk about how to achieve your resolutions, why they’re so important or why you should make them a priority every year. We tend to talk a lot about success nowadays, but not enough about failure and how it’s an essential element for our journey to success.

That sounds mad, I know. But hear me out.

Mindset can change the meaning of failure

When faced with a failure, one generally has two options. They can say “I failed my driving license test, so I need to improve my changing gear skills”or “I failed my driving license test, so I’m a failure.”

A fixed mindset (as defined by Dr Carols Dweck) believes that a failure indicates an individual’s inherent limitations which is then internalised (‘I’m a failure’). This inhibits one’s capacity to grow and also erodes confidence. A ‘growth mindset’ enables an individual to learn from their shortcomings, and to see failure as feedback mechanism on how to improve. This is critical to one’s long-term growth and development.

Even in a growth mindset, failure is not a pain-free experience. But it doesn’t define you and your abilities. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with and learned from.

Do men respond differently to failure?

I believe men (and women) can have a tendency to internalise and suppress failure at the same time due to social conditioning. On the one hand, many men are driven by a deep fear of incompetence or powerlessness. Most men are taught from a young age that they have to be strong and competent. Not being able to solve a problem leaves men in a place where they feel a bit like they’re not good enough, and this can feel like failure to some. And it’s important to note that this feeling is not always apparent.



Lau Ciocan

Founder of MAN - a shortlisted platform for the 'Best Men's Health Initiative' promoting healthy masculinities & men's mental health.