The Difference Between Failing and Being a Failure

Published On: February 29th, 2016·By ·

What's the difference between failing and being a failure?

Do you know the difference between failing and being a failure? I found the answer on social media. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Everyone fails sometimes, but not everyone is a failure. The difference between failing and being a failure boils down to one simple thing. You can tell what that thing is by looking at David Geurin‘s tweet, pictured below. In one column, Geurin listed what failing means. In the other, he listed what being a failure means. According to the chart, failure means it's temporary, a setback or disappointment, shows you are stretching yourself and pushing the limit, making your efforts and life part of the journey, and creating a new opportunity to learn and grow. Beings a failure means it's permanent, a mindset, and shows you've given up, have accepted that you are at the end of the journey, and that you are turning your back on learning and growth.

difference between failing and being a failure

All right, so do you know the answer yet? Well, it's right on the chart. The difference between failing and being a failure is about the mindset: Do you see the failure as temporary or permanent? That's really what this whole chart boils down to. Failing is just a one-time thing, a learning experience, and can be used to help a person grow. Someone becomes a failure once they let their failure define them and then gives up on whatever they were trying to do.

When have you ever turned a failure into a success? Have you ever helped a student through a failure?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to

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