But the thing is, everything has a huge failure rate.
Most people who go to college will never get a job in the field their degree relates to.
Those who do will usually not stay in it.
Five years after graduating college, 60% of men and 90% of women are not working full-time in a field where their degree is relevant. That's 75% failure. (The gender difference is primarily because women are often interested in college as self-improvement rather than career preparation, and never have any intention of getting a job in the field they study.)
Twenty years after graduation, those numbers get even more dramatic: 80% of men and 98% of women aren't working full-time in their chosen field. That's a near-90% failure rate.
And that's an average across ALL fields.
So all we're really saying when we talk about IM's 97% failure rate is that IM is just short of 30% harder than the average career path. (30% of 75% = 22.5% + 75% = 97.5%) That's honestly not so huge.
Plus, when we say someone "failed" at IM, it's not always a failure per se - a lot of would-be IMers walk away to get a "real" job like they used to have, which isn't exactly failure.
So it shouldn't be particularly scary or impressive that IM has this high failure rate. After all, everything does. Success at IM... when you really look at it... usually comes through failure at something else.