In all those failures and what I consider semi-failures I see now that even in something that I used to think was so simple (metallurgy) is actually very complex and we still don't have all the answers. It can be very humbling to do research. You start out with grandiose plans and at the end it can be a little depressing what is actually accomplished. On the other hand, even accomplishing something small from scratch is a huge victory. Scientists, you have my respect.
I have learned, even in those failures where you feel it is a loss and a waste, there is learning to be had. That is very important. No one in the world will have all of the same failures that you do. That means your learning curve is different than everyone else in the world. I think that means that some day you will be able to solve a problem that no one else in the world has solved. Maybe you have already solved unique problems like that. Maybe I'm totally wrong.