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Failure vs. Success: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 29, 2023
Failure is the lack of success, while success is the achievement of a goal.

Key Differences

Failure is often perceived as a negative outcome, implying a lack of achievement or success. In contrast, success is seen as the attainment of goals or objectives, symbolizing accomplishment and positive outcomes.
Success represents the culmination of efforts that yield desired results, whereas failure is often associated with the inability to reach such outcomes. Success is celebrated and sought after, while failure is usually avoided, though it can be a learning opportunity.
In the journey towards success, encountering failure is common; it is often a step in the learning process, unlike success, which is the endpoint of this journey. Success is the measure of triumph, while failure can signify temporary setbacks.
Success and failure are not absolute; they are relative to personal goals and societal standards. While success is fulfilling these standards or personal ambitions, failure is falling short of these expectations.
In terms of personal growth, success can bring confidence and validation, while failure, though potentially disheartening, can provide invaluable insights and lessons for future attempts at success.

Comparison Chart


Lack of desired result
Achievement of desired result


Often viewed negatively
Generally viewed positively

Emotional Impact

Can lead to disappointment or discouragement
Brings satisfaction and fulfillment

Learning Opportunity

Offers lessons and insights
Validates methods and strategies

Societal Implications

Sometimes stigmatized
Often celebrated and admired

Failure and Success Definitions


Failure is the omission of expected or required action.
Her failure to report the mistake caused further complications.


Success is the accomplishment of one's aims or endeavors.
His success as a lawyer was due to his perseverance.


Failure is a lack of success in a specific aspect of life.
His failure in business ventures taught him valuable lessons.


Success is a favorable or desired outcome.
The success of the project depended on teamwork.


Failure is the non-achievement of an intended goal.
His failure to pass the exam was a major setback.


Success is the attainment of popularity or profit.
The success of his book surprised everyone.


Failure is the inability to perform a required task or duty.
The failure of the engine led to the car breaking down.


Success is the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
Her success in her career was an inspiration to many.


Failure is falling short of a standard.
The team's failure to qualify for the finals was disappointing.


Success is the achievement of a goal or objective.
Her success in the competition was well-deserved.


The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends
The failure of an experiment.


The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted
Attributed their success in business to hard work.


Is failure permanent?

No, it's often a temporary setback.

What causes failure?

Often due to lack of planning, resources, or effort.

Does everyone experience failure?

Yes, it's a universal aspect of life.

What defines success?

Achieving personal goals or societal standards.

How to measure success?

Through personal satisfaction or goal attainment.

How to cope with failure?

Learn from it, adjust strategies, and persist.

Can failure lead to success?

Yes, many successful people have failed before succeeding.

Can failure be positive?

Yes, as a learning experience and growth opportunity.

Is success the same for everyone?

No, it's subjective and varies individually.

Can success be harmful?

Sometimes, if it leads to arrogance or complacency.

How does society view success?

Generally, as a positive and desirable state.

Does success guarantee happiness?

Not always, as it depends on individual values.

How does failure affect mindset?

It can be discouraging or motivating, based on attitude.

Can success change a person?

It can, affecting attitudes, behaviors, and perspectives.

How important is persistence for success?

Extremely important, as it overcomes challenges and setbacks.

Is failure necessary for success?

Often, as it provides essential lessons and resilience.

What's more important, success or failure?

Both are important for growth and learning.

Is there a formula for success?

No universal formula, as it varies by goals and contexts.

How to turn failure into success?

By learning, adapting, and not giving up.

What are common reactions to success?

Joy, pride, and sometimes surprise.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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