the problem with failure



fail·ure | \ ˈfāl-yər \

: lack of success

There is a fundamental problem with our societal idea of failure. When you think of failure you often think of a failed business or failure to meet a goal. It seems like the end all be all. Disgrace, rejection, shame.

the problem with failure

But that’s like reading one chapter of a book. It’s only one part of the story.

What about the ‘failure’ that was the lesson needed to exceed the goal the next time around. What about the ‘failed’ business that inspired a new fulfilling, successful career in a totally different field?

When you see missing the mark as the end of the story, you forget to keep going.

It’s easier to think of failing as iterating – you improve upon your process each time you try and it doesn’t work out. You keep trying + improving until you achieve the result you want. It makes each failure seem like a mini obstacle on your way to a larger goal. It assumes that there will be times when things don’t work because OF COURSE you’re not going to get everything right the first time (that’s true of hitting a goal and life in general by the way). Taking the pressure off ‘failing’ is the best thing you can do to start and follow through on something you want to do.

And if you have what I consider to be a healthy view of ‘failing’, then you’re not so afraid to fail. Fear of failure is what prevents most people from starting. Is that not a failure in and of itself? If you’re so afraid that you won’t even try, you’ve failed before you started. Or if you get started just to get scared and quit, that’s failing without getting the data you need to fail better next time!

I really don’t even consider failure much at this point in my life. If I ‘fail,’ I’ll try again or try something new. If something doesn’t work out, there’s something better on the other side. I wonder how the world would be different if we weren’t so afraid of failure? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?