Failure is not something to avoid, but rather something to embrace, says Costica Bradatan, associate professor in the Honors College at Texas Tech University and author of the forthcoming Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers. In fact, it is failure that makes success possible, he says.

"In a sense, the capacity to fail is much more important than any individual human achievements,” Bradatan writes. “It is that which makes them possible.”

Failing helps keep us hungry for the next chance to prove ourselves, he notes.

"It is crucial that we remain fundamentally imperfect, incomplete, erring creatures; in other words, that there is always a gap left between what we are and what we can be," Bradatan writes.

It also encourages us to remain humble, which often prompts our more generous natures, he says.

“The spectacle of our shortcomings can be so unbearable that sometimes it shames us into doing a little good,” Bradatan adds. “Ironically, it is the struggle with our own failings that may bring the best in us.”