We all know how popular embracing failure has become, and there are certainly lessons to learn from the craze. With Twitter’s #Fail Whale making all failed tweets “cute,” the social media world has fallen in love with the art of FAIL in the attempt of self-improvement. Even our bosses are encouraged to be more accepting of failure (presumably, they’re supposed to stop expecting excellence all the time). But with our obsession over modern trends, I suggest we don’t overlook the actual value of failure.
The Hasty Rush To Failure
As so many happily rush towards their next failure, many seem to overlook the other side of this. We really shouldn’t strive for failure — it should only be viewed as a last resort. It’s not really a good thing, and it’s not failure we should be embracing — but the lessons learned. Additionally, failure isn’t always acceptable. Great examples of this would be where consequences are catastrophic — lives are lost, or whole economies are destroyed. Of course, lessons can be learned from the most brutal mistakes in history, but it’s best to avoid these failures if possible. Failure is also 100% useless if one doesn’t learn (or truly wish to learn) how to avoid the mistake in future. When we touch the hot stove, our failure of awareness bites us in the rear, which is good if we remember this lesson. It’s useless if we continually repeat it, never improving ourselves. The scolding boss at our job who isn’t keen on constant mistakes is part of that “ouch!” factor — a natural lesson to learn from. Therefore, I don’t feel a lot of the FAIL message we’re getting is quite healthy. Embrace ALL lessons and consequences of our occasional failures as a gift from life, itself, but don’t expect others to necessarily be happy about or understanding of our failures.
I feel it’s worth repeating: the goal shouldn’t be to fail, but to succeed in everything we do, while learning all we can from our failures. This may seem obvious, but with so much emphasis and pride in the fail trend, it seems both success, and the lessons derived from failure, are lost for many in the pro-fail movement. Failure is one of our best teachers, but only if we’re hungry enough to learn.