Should You Fear Failure?

Wile E. Coyote

I can’t think of a better example of both failure and the refusal to give into it than Wile E. Coyote. Recent events in my life have me thinking about it and wondering out loud about whether we should fear failure or not.

Not to mention the proliferation of posts about why we shouldn’t fear failure and how it is always a good learning experience.

Are We Selling Shiny, Useless Trinkets?

I’ll preface this by saying that I am beyond the point where you can describe me as angry and frustrated. I have gone beyond it to the point and place at which I want to take those who say failure is a good thing and help them understand why it might not be.

Yeah, that is right. I want to punch them in the throat and kick them in the junk and ask them what they have learned from this experience other than to duck or run away.

I’ll give them a few minutes to recover and then when they aren’t expecting it I’ll do it again and ask them why they didn’t run or hide. Didn’t they learn from the prior experience that failure to protect yourself can lead to pain and suffering.

Ok, so that is an extreme response and perhaps unfair. I’ll grant that failure does have its merits and that it can help you learn and be a positive force in your life, but measured failure is different.

Failure Brings Appreciation

It is fair to say that I have thought about this topic more than once. Visit the blog around Rosh Hashanah and you’ll see at least one post that is tied into it.

There is some truth to being told that struggle and failure help you appreciate what you have but the question is how much do you really need to appreciate those things.

“There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.” ~Washington Irving

“We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.” ~John Steinbeck, America and Americans

“The calamity that comes is never the one we had prepared ourselves for.”
– Mark Twain Letter to Olivia Clemens, August 16, 1896

I suppose it is also fair to say that as a father I have intentionally let my kids fail at some things. I did so because life isn’t always easy and if you want to be a functioning part of society you have to learn how to pick yourself up when you fall down.

If you can’t deal with adversity life will beat you and that is something that I can’t allow. Or rather I can’t allow my children to grow up thinking that when life gets hard someone will fix everything for them because it is not true.

Should We Fear Failure?

Should we fear failure really is far too broad a question because ultimately there are reasons to fear failure. There are some things where the consequences of failure are dire so in those situations you damn well better be concerned about it.

Instead I would reframe it as making a point not to let fear of failure prevent you from living your life. That is my personal and professional goal and what I teach my children.

Speaking of those little buggers an iTunes mix I listened to a short while made me think of them and some of the songs we sometimes sing together so I thought I’d share some of them with you.

  1. Mess Around- Ray Charles
  2. Burn It Down- Linkin Park
  3. Little Talks- Of Monsters and Men
  4. Settle Down-No Doubt
  5. Party Rock- LMFAO

What About Failure In Blogging?

I don’t worry about failure in blogging because there is no single path to success and anyone who feels otherwise can use the bag mentioned in this post or alternatively they can challenge me to single combat and we’ll see who has the mightier plugin to wield. 😉

My ultimate goal in life and blogging is to continue to emulate Wile E. Coyote who always gets back up no matter how many times he falls off the cliff, gets blown up or has an anvil dropped on his head.

And I hope with a bit of effort and some luck that the falls, explosions and anvil droppings are kept to a minimum because that crap hurts.

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  1. this site December 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I believe failure is the road to success. Going through adversity help builds a person stronger. If a person never failed before he will not understand the sweetness of success. Learn to embrace failure so you can improve and get success. Nice article Jack.

  2. Jens-Petter Berget July 11, 2013 at 1:28 am

    No, we shouldn’t fear failure. We should just keep going, and focus on the process of creating. And, we should focus on the people who want to listen to us, who are part of our tribe, and not every single person online.

  3. geoffliving July 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Failure burns like fire, and that is the motivation to succeed for me. It’s not fun, but it produces a right result in the end.  Fuck the journey, too.  The journey sucks until you get the pay-off, then you appreciate the journey, and the pay-off even more.

  4. Julie Barrett July 8, 2013 at 2:55 am

    I see you switched to Livefyre!  Hope that works well for you.
    There is a tendency to learn from negative experiences but it turns out we can just as easily learn from positive ones.  So I asked for that and got some while others stayed just as bitchy as they always were 🙂  Tenacity can work if you are that sort.  I’m with Twain, which always makes for interesting life experiences, and so I go with flexibility primarily.

    • TheJackB July 10, 2013 at 4:55 am

      Julie Barrett Yeah switched back again. Now we’ll see if it does all it is supposed to.

      Twain never fails to educate and remind me how sharp he was.

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