Failure and success are not in two different directions. They are not two divergant paths on the road of life. And they are most certainly not mutually exclusive. Do an image search for “failure and success” on any image site and inevitably you will see an image that looks like this:

Failure or Success Road
Failure and success are not in two different directions. (Click to Tweet)


Talk about the road less traveled. The only people who purposefully take the left road are either sadistic or have awful GPS systems.

If life were like this sign, the left side could remain unsalted during a snowstorm. No one chooses that road.

The reality is that life is more like this:

Roadmap of Failure Leading to Success
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Failures are the map dot towns en route to your destination. They are the eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania towns I flew through recently on the way to Philadelphia. Honestly, I can’t remember many of those towns. But they got me to where I wanted to go.

The same goes for failures. I don’t remember a ton of them, but I did learn lessons from them. And they have always led me to my destination.

Your path to each and every success in life will go through many failures. Just remember that is by design. That is the way the Map is taking you.

Follow the Map and allow yourself to feel the pain of failure…and always keep your Success in sight.

Have you viewed failure and success as independent of each other? What failures have led you to success?

0 thoughts on “Where Failure Leads, Success Results | Roadmap of Success

  1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    Great post.

    As I’ve begun working on my own projects and moving towards what I’m passionate about I’ve had to change my view of failure. I’ve had to stop looking at failure as a horrible apocolyptic event and realize that if I’m failing it means I’m doing something. It means I’m moving forward, I’m progressing and learning.

    That paradigm shift is making a huge difference in my life and my success. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting closer!!

    Thanks for the great content!

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        Thanks 🙂

  2. Katherine Leicester says:

    An excellent and admirable post, Matt.

    I’m addicted to my own comfort, and plan specifically to avoid failure.

    I must change. Your blog is helping me to do so. Thanks, Matt!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Powerful quote Katherine:

      “I’m addicted to my own comfort”

      I think many of us are.

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        I’m addicted to chocolate…and mt dew…

  3. It’s so hard to see a failure as a growth point for me. I’m an achiever and perfectionist so I have daily failures. I want to learn how to move through these failures quicker.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I am in the same boat Jim…it’s a mindset. Sounds simple and it is…but it’s also hard. You have to look at them as dots on the map to success. They are necessary and useful.

  4. Jana Botkin says:

    It is interesting that I’ve never even considered failure as a category. I don’t remember specific failures, only that some things didn’t work out as well as hoped. When a painting doesn’t sell, I paint over the top, or correct the weak parts. If a drawing student quits, another shows up. If a commissioned drawing doesn’t suit a customer, I work with them until they are happy with it.

    The part that feels like failure to me is that after all these years, I’m still not earning very much. I avoid feeling crummy about it by continually trying new things, by measuring success in ways other than money, and other techniques, (like going to the cabin and knitting or hiking, or commenting on people’s blogs instead of working.)

    Your map reminds me that this summer I’ve been seeing lots of cars turning around on the road that leads to the remote place where my cabin is. Many GPS units are sending people to this remote part of Sequoia National Park instead of to the main part. (or they are misreading the directions.) Those who turn around miss the most beautiful part of Sequoia! Those who stumble ahead are usually glad that they were misled. (I’m all for old fashioned paper maps. . . if people had real maps, they could decide where to go on purpose.)

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Good analogy…if not for the detours, we’d miss so much beauty.

  5. Steve Pate says:

    Shoot with out failure I wouldn’t learn! I my early days in college I was relieved to learn it was okay to fail as long you are learning. And when I did fail or get the answer wrong, I didn’t forget it and remembered what was the right answer or how to do it right.

  6. brentmkelly says:

    Matt, great point. I have used a similar visual because they are common, but there is no doubt success is a process of repetitive failures. I have written about this on my blog and it is so important. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Love this:

      “success is a process of repetitive failures”

  7. Tom Dixon says:

    I like the audio option on your posts, Matt – and the link to Pinterest…very cool. This topic is something I’ve changed in my thinking over the last few years. Now I welcome a failure or two, because I know that they are necessary on the path to being successful.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Thanks Tom. I am glad you are enjoying them!

      Sounds like you made an important shift.

  8. Robert Kennedy III says:

    Awesome image Matt!! This is definitely the truth and I’m endeavoring to share this with my kids from early on so that they don’t have to ‘figure’ it out later after some opportunities pass.

  9. Steve Pate says:

    wow thanks Jana! I just might need the help, I’m about to enter a season where I can dedicate time to put what’s in my head down on to screen. I’m thinking of calling it “The bigger Hammer.” If that title is available.

    Great memory Jana!-but really with great bloggers like Matt and the rest of the tribe, you can’t go wrong with the content out there right now!

    1. Jana Botkin says:

      There is Bigger Hammer dot net, but not The Bigger Hammer. (see? still procrastinating by googling stuff and commenting on other people’s blogs instead of going to work!)

      Yesterday I learned that Michael Hyatt just updated his screencast about setting up a blog via wordpress dot org. That’s good, because last December it was already a little outdated, and what was promised to be a 20 minute project too all day.

      (Hey Matt, thanks for allowing us to have sidebar conversations on your blog – you provide a safe place for folks to help one another!)

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        I love it!

  10. Jeremy Byrne says:

    Do you mind if I use your image of the road map to success if I credit you and link to this page?

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Absolutely Jeremy!

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