Actually, Failure Blows

Just read this post by Francisco Dao that echoes closely some of my thinking on the recent trend of celebrating failure. He makes a solid point:

Even worse, many entrepreneurs now celebrate their failures as if they were an indicator of their skill. This is as ridiculous as a race car driver saying his numerous crashes are what make him a good driver.

Amen. As someone who’s gone through a few pretty major failures—in just about all aspects of my life—I’ve never really understood the “celebration” many entrepreneurs associate with failure.

I have learned a lot from failure (the biggest lessons are around not making the same mistakes) but I can’t say failure is the primary learning tool in my life, and, frankly, it’s got some horrible downsides, especially when you’re aiming high.

Failure sucks. It hurts. It can lay a person low. It can cause wide-reaching problems and, despite the learning and strengthening that can come from it, it’s not always worth it. I finally came to accept my failures and, oh yeah, I learned from them. But you’ll never catch me celebrating them. I’d prefer to leave as much of the actual failure part of those experiences behind me. And for good reason.

I don’t think it’s something we should embrace and more importantly, I don’t think it’s something we should be putting on our resumes and holding up as some kind of badge of honor. It’s part of a process that, ultimately, should lead us to successes? You know? The things we should be celebrating.

For me, I’d like to put failure in the same place I put boredom, anger, sadness, etc: In the past. Not forgotten, but in a dark place reflected upon only when necessary. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. What really gets me here is the embracing or seeking of failure. I don’t get that at all. Embrace risk, sure, but seek success. Right?

Failure is a part of life, and if you think risk is a good thing (I think it is) you’re probably familiar with it. Is failure an awesome learning experience? Hell yes it is, but so is success. Is it worth the risk? Most of the time, yes, it is. Should we celebrate it? Hell no.

Learn from failure, don’t go seeking it out. And for crying out loud, don’t brag about it.


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