Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, author of "The Quantum Brain" discusses the important relationship of failure to success:
"In my years as a psychiatrist, I have treated many highly "successful" individuals who have floundered upon confronting setbacks, considering themselves "failures." I have learned the following lesson : Truly successful people, the most successful, have a very checkered track record, peppered with what they consider many serious "losses." Success for them is defined not by any external, objective standard unvarying from one person to the next but rather by that level of accomplishment that the individuals themselves experience as unequivocally satisfying (and that often happens to, but need not, coincide with what others consider successful, too).
Invariably, those with near-perfect records, outstanding by "objective" standards, suffer from two afflictions: They are excruciatingly sensitive to failure (which is why when confronted with it, should they happen to be, they fall into the tailspin that brings them to my office); they consider themselves never really to have fulfilled their own potential, even when not in crisis. And they're correct, contrary to all to kind-hearted, humane and utterly useless self-esteem building that constitutes a substantial part of "therapy" nowadays.
In reality, a decent exposure to failure, over a long enough time, not only inoculates us against emotional collapse, it allows us to try things that expand our reach: if you can't fail, you can't succeed. The steepest learning curves (measured against a standard that varies from person to person, however) happen when serious loss is allowed and not avoided. When we avoid loss, we still may do well by the world's standards, but we know we are being cowardly. We therefore can't experience the joy of genuine accomplishment - and we shouldn't." (2001, pp. 14-15).
~ Excerpted from "The Quantum Brain - The Search for Freedom and the Next Generation of Man" By Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, practicing psychiatrist, past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation, and former Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale University. He has also been a William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion at Harvard University.