Does Failure Actually Lead To Success? | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Study Actually Confirms Failure Increases Chances Of Success

Listen to any successful person and they will all share something in common: most will tell you they wouldn’t be where they are without their early failures. Turns out, they’re actually not wrong. 

Findings published in Nature Communications suggest that scientists who experience failure early in their career are more likely to succeed later on in life.

Researchers from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management collected data on students who had applied for grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1990 and 2005. They then separated them into two groups: those who had ‘failed’ – unable to get funding and those who achieved ‘success’ – were able to receive funding.

Scientists then analysed the papers those groups published over the next 10 years – noting both the number and the popularity of those papers. Although they expected to see those who received funding enjoy long-term success, they found the opposite.

It turns out the group who fell short of funding were 6.1 per cent more likely to publish a popular study than their counterparts who were saw early success. 

“Those who stick it out, on average, perform much better in the long term, suggesting that if it doesn’t kill you, it really does make you stronger,” explained lead study author, Yang Wang. 

“There is value in failure,” added another author of the study Dashun Wang. “It turns out that, historically, while we have been relatively successful in pinpointing the benefits of success, we have failed to understand the impact of failure.”

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