We’ve all had our share of successes and failures in life. Lately I’ve been thinking we spend way too much attention in society focusing on success. Everyone has an opinion and a formula for success; “10 steps to becoming successful” and “How to make millions in15 steps” sounds like familiar titles. It seems like there’s a formula and book for success on every website. And though I doubt a book touting “5 Ways to Certain Failure” would become a best seller, what I’ve realized is we do not spend enough time looking at failure and what we can learn from it. In fact, I’m fairly convinced that success and failure are opposite sides of the same coin, and contingent upon definition.

To effectively navigate failure and understand its component parts would be to create pathways for success. If I know what failure looks like and what sets up the circumstances for its inevitability then I know which traps to avoid.

Failure is such a hands off topic that one recognizes instantly it should be avoided at all costs . I contend that failure – studying it, understanding and embracing it, can give as much or more perspective than success. While success is celebrated, failure is largely ignored. Why? In society, we have become so obsessed with positive results and hero worship,that we avoid acknowledging the amazing lessons that come from failing.

So what is failure if not the lack of succeeding or not winning? And what is success? These two elusive illusions are mostly set up in the paradigm of winning and losing – a very black and white dichotomy.

My personal experiences of failure include some investments I’ve made and a restaurant I opened. I also have to consider some failed relationships. These experiences have taught me several valuable lessons. Those lessons made me a better business man, investor and partner. Most importantly they taught me to consider and look at my approach, my expectations, timing, my need for mentor ship and my skill set. As I become more comfortable with failure I realize I set myself up for positive results.

Still, I can’t help but feeling that any conversation about failure or success is like trying to hit a moving target because these are both arbitrary states. I’ve moved beyond the language of failure and success and replaced it with what I’m learning and how I’m reacting to those lessons. The important qualities of living aren’t wrapped up in a word called success or failure. Life’s finer points are illustrated by a healthy sense of growth and accomplishment. Hereon, I experience success and failure as the same coin and one which I can flip at will and come up with a different outcome.