Some thoughts on ‘failing’

I missed posting last week.

Does that count as a failure?

Initially, I thought, not. After all, failure seems like such a harsh word, and I only missed one week.

Plus, I had my reasons (excuses).

  • “I was travelling”
  • “I was jetlagged”
  • “I had a packed schedule”
  • “It was so cold my fingers didn’t know their way around a keyboard”
  • “There were drunk people dressed as Santa everywhere”

But none of these is overly helpful. None of them hints at learning, growth or change. They’re fixed justifications and, well, excuses.

And yet: failure is merely a story. 

It can be one that paralyses us and causes us to hide or one that empowers us to learn something new.

I mean, if this blog was a startup I could puff my chest out and proudly announce my failure. “Fail fast, fail often” is a much-lauded warcry in that corner of the world. It tells a story about rapid development and constant iteration in the interests of making a product or service better.

The difference between the kind of failure we feel shame over, and the kind we declare proudly, is the story we tell as a result of the failure.

Is the story one of sabotage or one of improvement?

One of hopelessness or one of possibility?