WPO Image

How Failure Can Bring You Closer To Success

JJ Pryor, a Medium contributor, explains why it is possible to be more productive by chasing failure.

My most productive period in my life was the one where I tried to fail. It was paradoxical, but it proved to be very helpful for me the next year.

I moved to Taiwan in order to teach English. Quotes are something I used because it was difficult to do. Although it’s not my profession, it is highly respectable for those who do it well.

Teaching English was no easy task. It was difficult to deal with children shouting in another language in classrooms. It didn’t help that I was not familiar with the language.

It was an exciting challenge that added to my excitement during the days of new adventure. During that first year, however, my thoughts were elsewhere.


I wasn’t going to Taiwan to learn English and make $2,000 per month. It was only a transitional step. Every day brought new challenges in language, weather and scooters.

Also, I had to be focused on my long-term goals. After quitting my job as an auditor of tobacco for the government, I moved there. Although he still wanted to be in finance, he didn’t see it as a traditional career.

During my first year in Taiwan I had many goals. Some of these I have recently achieved, others I’ve been contemplating for a while.

Successfully complete the first round to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst certification.

Pass the remaining certification exam for public accountants.

In the spring, do an Ironman Triathlon.

You can learn Mandarin at an acceptable level.

To study

In Canada, I had completed the full accounting test round and passed all three of them. One of them required a second exam. The process was difficult and tedious because I was learning on my own.

Later, I discovered that many of the candidates were actually teaching classes to help them pass. My life would be very different if I had the money and the job.

It was difficult to absorb such a large amount of knowledge. It was not meant to be.

At that moment, I realized that I had to find a new system to succeed in my endeavors in Taiwan.

It was very difficult to pass 2 certification exams.

Failure is not something to be happy about

One day, as I rode a scooter from one school branch to another, I was struck by how it felt. Is it possible to get rid of the fear and guilt that comes with feeling like failure? What would a story look like if it was about a creature of despair?

“Well, every story line needs a twist. I thought.

What better way to twist this story than to have someone actually try failure?

This was a ridiculous thought that kept me hooked for over a week. I couldn’t stop wondering if it could be a way to achieve my goals.

You would lose your power if you pursued failure. You would not have to worry about perfection if you pursued failure. You could be satisfied if you tried to fail.

What if you tried to succeed by working like a donkey?

Do not try to fail

It’s a bizarre concept and it was the only year in my life I used it. My days were quickly filled with routine.

When I woke up, I had studied for thirty minutes. Before going to work, I used to swim in the mornings. When he wasn’t teaching, he studied for hours. I ran an hour every night. It took me 2 hours to cycle to work from home.

I used the time on the bike to practice my Mandarin pronunciation every day. I went home for the weekend because I wanted to take a break and relax.

Those actions described me. We are all what we do each day.


Nine months later, I had achieved most of my goals but not all.

I passed the initial analyst exam.

The last accounting exam I took was a failure. I probably failed it because I slept only 3 hours in the 2 days prior to the exam which took 5 hours.

I finished the triathlon and was the last person to finish. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and it made me very proud, even though I suffered a serious knee injury.

At the end of the year I was able speak Mandarin.

Forward looking

I moved to another place after that year and stopped pursuing any goals. (The knee operation also stopped me from continuing to train).

I have been able to reflect on many aspects of my life through my current search for personal projects. When I think back to the best years of my life, I often return to Taiwan.

This strategy is what I am going to use for my new projects. I look forward to it!

You can’t let failure control your thoughts when you fail to try. You can learn new skills by failing and continue to do your best. You can learn from failure and focus on the short-term.


WPO Image

Hello, my name’s Marvin Armstrong, maritime seaman and sailor by trade.

This blog, although it wasn't meant to be a blog, but rather the site about my maritime interest, has now expanded to be an expression of my own lifestyle itself where I cover my interests and discoveries.

Click to read on
Maritime Heritage