It’s a great day to fail.

Failure has a negative connotation in our modern world. We hear the word and think of embarrassment, or ruin. This fixed mindset responds to failure by saying, “If I try and fail, then I am not good at it and shouldn’t try again.” The perfectionist approach says, “If its hard and I fail, then I am no longer perfect.” In reality, failure is a natural and necessary stepping stone to success. Let us take a moment remember how to take failure with a simile.

Recall Thomas Edison’s famous statement about the 10,000 things he learned while failing to improve the lightbulb. Each time it didn’t work, he learned something new about the science he was exploring. A man who failed countless times is now best known for his accomplishments.

Robert Frost gives us the axiom, “The only way out is through”. Giving up after failure stops your forward motion. If you’re in a boat on a lake and failing to steer toward shore, each dip of your paddle provides more information about the cause and effect of your stroke. The only way back to shore is to keep learning.

Nature also takes failure in stride. Trees blown over in windstorms send up new shoots from their stumps. A house plant tipped over will change its direction of growth to accommodate. The phototrophic response is an acceptance of its failure to stay in the original upright position.

Even if you ignore the advise of our historical figures and nature itself, all the proof needed to realize the positive aspects of failure comes from watching a baby try a new task. They try and fail, then crinkle up their little nose and try again. It may take many tries from a few different angles. Through each failure they learn. Maybe frustrations and tears come with the effort. In the end, the child has practiced their motor and problem solving skills. New neurons fired in their brains making new connections. Their failure achieves growth.

What we earned from failure:

  • learn something new
  • create humility
  • encourage empathy
  • build resilience
  • achieve personal growth
  • gain experience
  • invite self-assessment
  • foster ingenuity
  • develop sportsmanship