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What is the Opposite of Success? (It’s Not What You Think)

When posed with the question, “What is the opposite of success?” the immediate response is, “failure”. This may shock you, but that answer is completely false.

How many people have succeeded without failing? I’d challenge you to find just one person. 

Randy Gage says it best with his quote:

“The opposite of success is not failure, it’s mediocrity. Failures are part of the success process as you learn and grow.”

Opposite of Success: A Comical Illustration

My wife and I made a trip to Florida to visit my brother, his wife, and their daughter. At the time, our daughter was just under two years old.

Naturally, we headed to the beach soon after we arrived! After all, when you fly from a 20 degree location to a 75 degree location, it’s practically the law to lay in the sun and get burnt on day one! 😉 However, being the good parents we are, we were sure to pack the beach tent to protect our baby girl!

You know the ones, right? They come in this circular pack, and when you take it out of its packaging, the wire-frame bounds open like magic and voila! A tent is formed!

Man, that thing was awesome, protecting our toddler from the sun’s rays all day long.

The Failure…

And then…it came time to put that thing away.

I grabbed it on the sides and tried to….

  • roll it
  • circle it
  • twist it
  • rotate it
  • fold it
  • get acrobatic with it…

…it seemed that not even an act of God would get that tent back into a circular shape.

After about 10 minutes of repeated trial and error, I finally wised up and took my troubles to YouTube. I patiently watched a video and coached my brother how to pack the thing up (yes, he was now in the mix).

It was about this time that a woman came over to us chuckling… 

She put her hand on my arm, put her head down, giggled a little, composed herself, and then said (no lie):

“I just wanted to come over here and say ‘thank you’. My family and I have been watching you this entire time and this was seriously the best entertainment we’ve had in years!”

Lol. Yes, we’re probably still on YouTube somewhere, making someone else millions of dollars thanks to our stupidity.

Packing up that tent – total failure.

That Failure – Part of the Overall Success

Alright, so that tent thing could have gone better, but you know what? We still:

  • soaked up the sun
  • found some great shells
  • found some shark teeth
  • had an amazing visit with my family, and with tons of memories!

That one embarrassing failure was just part of the overall success of the trip!

Opposite of Success in Life

Too often today, we’re taught that we should know all the answers. That we should always be correct and should always be winning if we want to succeed in life. But the truth is, if it’s ingrained in us to never lose, then we’re actually being taught to never try. Because you know what? If you try something new, chances are you’re not going to be good at it! You’re going to fail, and that’s okay!

Opposite of SuccessDon’t Miss

Ever watch the movie, Mr. Baseball? (It’s one of those 90’s movies that I still love and most of you probably think is terrible.) The movie stars Tom Selleck as an incredibly talented Major League Baseball player…but then he hits a rough patch. He started striking out…a lot. He got so terrible that he was sent to a league in Japan to hopefully work out whatever it was that was wrong with him.

There, he started working with his new coach. As he approached the plate for his first day of batting practice, he uttered the words, “Don’t miss, don’t miss, don’t miss.”

And guess what he did?

He missed.

Long story short, his new coach changed his mentality. He got him thinking, “I wanna hit. I wanna hit. I wanna hit!” 

And so he did.

He got great again, he won the big game, got the girl (yes, of course there was a girl!), and the movie ended in smiles.

The Danger of Mediocrity

Are you going through life uttering to yourself, “Don’t miss. Don’t miss. Don’t miss.”?? If you are, then you likely won’t fail big because you’ll never step out on the limb and give this world your all, and that’s a shame.

  • Your entire life will be filled with mediocrity
  • You’ll have minor successes at best
  • And, you may look back on your life someday and have a pit in your stomach, full of regrets.

Don’t shoot for mediocrity. You can do better than that!

Shoot for success.

You’re sure to fail along the way, but that’s just an indication that you’re headed for something great!

What’s the opposite of success? Mediocrity. If I were you, I’d choose the path of failures.

Battle of the Mind Grow Rich Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. 100% – I have always learned from my failures, and they are never as bad as they seem in that moment. There really is no failure, only more life experience. Good or bad.

    • Totally agree. Thanks for commenting, AR!

  2. Hi Derek, thank you for a great post. Many years ago, I had a great coach who taught me to shout, ‘I’m loving it’ whenever life knocked me down.

    Brian Tracy, taught me to tell my self that, every day in every way life gets better, better and better. That also works.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • Very cool, Shaun. Now you’re teaching ME stuff! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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