Thursday, June 13, 2013

Freedom To Fail

So this Happy Thought Thursday is a little different than normal. I want to talk about something positive that people may not always construe as a good thing.

Yesterday I made the overly ambitious statement that I was going to refilm and edit my first vlog all in one night (after my 10 hour work day) and I did not accomplish that.

I could whine about how I got tired or how I had a hard time getting on track last night or that I've been really stressed with the five million things on my plate--but those are excuses and I'd rather not employ those.

What I really want to stress to you is I set out to do something and I failed.

And after I have taken responsibility for that fact I need to stress to you that it's okay that I failed and that I'm fine. Nothing has crushed me, the world didn't end, I just didn't accomplish what I set out to do.

And I'm sorry because that means I broke my word.

Now you're probably laughing and thinking "How is this a happy thought?" or "Why are you making such a big deal out of this?"

And the answer is really that as a society we don't allow ourselves room to fail very often.

And that's sad because that's truly where you learn the most and grow.

I once put dish soap in the dishwasher because I figured it wouldn't make a difference. After suds filled our kitchen not only did I have a cleanly prank to add to my bag o' tricks but now had a better understanding of the chemical differences between kinds of soaps.

Maybe that's not super interesting to you but I find that oddly fascinating.

The point is, it's okay to mess up. It really is. And once you know that, once you accept that, there is a bizarre kind of relief and freedom.

There's this great exchange in Macbeth that goes:

"If we should fail--"
"We fail."

That's it. You don't succeed. But you actually did something rather than watching your life go by.

Now to be fair they were talking about regicide so maybe they SHOULD have just let their life roll by or something but... what are ya gonna do?

Do something, set high goals, if you fail, accept that and roll with the consequences. I'm not saying approach it with apathy, throw yourself fully into something but learn from the mistake rather than belittling yourself for not succeeding.

Ask why it didn't succeed.

Me? I set a very tight deadline for myself. A deadline I might have been able to make if I didn't work the next day or if I'd have started earlier. But I didn't. And I reached a mental capacity where while I was awake, my brain started to lose the sharper thoughts. So I cut my losses and went to bed so I could be conscious the next morning at work and so I didn't compromise the quality of my product based on time constraint.

The next time you take on something big, give yourself the freedom to fail. It sounds ridiculous but that in the end is going to make you a lot happier in the long run.


  1. Well said. As a person that's the consummate procrastinator, I believe I'm more wary of success, than I am of failure. So many ideas, so li'l time.

  2. I have always found failure to be the seed-bed of new ideas. The great paradox is that in order to master something, failure usually has to occur in the process.