Is it a MISTAKE to be comfortable with FAILURE?

Time to celebrate?

Failures cost us virtually nothing when we take photos with our digital cameras, yet failures cost us plenty when our banks make bad loans. Our political leaders fail us when the only agreement they reach is raising our debt ceiling allowing themselves to continue spending.

We hear that our creative spirit can save us all and according to conventional wisdom, to innovate we need to take fearless risks and be open to: “fail now,” “fail today,” “fail this afternoon,” ”fail tomorrow,” “fail often.” A recent Wall Street Journal headline reads
Better Ideas Through Failure: Companies Reward Employee Mistakes to Spur Innovation, Get Back Their Edge.

I wonder if even George Eastman would have thought failure has become overexposed. Are we producing an entrepreneurial culture or a culture of failure? Are we getting too comfortable with failure?

Of course we don’t expect to paint a masterpiece the first time we walk across a stage, and we shouldn’t be afraid of trial and error. Are we justifying and celebrating too many of our errors as we say: “At least I got the interview,” “it was an honor to be nominated,” “what a great experience,” “I met so many interesting people,” or “we designed a great product that was ahead of its time.” In our winner take all society; ask Al Gore, or yahoo what second place is like. Remember that we can learn from our successes too!

Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.” described Vince Lombardi in an earlier era. In our acceptance of some inevitable failures, we can’t lose the will to win! Winning is the only option when the game is on, and only after the whistle blows can we allow for acceptance of failure and lessons learned. If you go into a supermarket expecting that you won’t find Key Limes, you probably won’t. When we expect failure, we give up too soon.

Your secret plan

  1. Start without concern about failing.
  2. Play to win! And failure is not an option!
  3. Evaluate your wins or losses for learned lessons.

What was your biggest mistake that you used to make a towering success? Or what is your biggest success and what did you learn?



  1. scriberess says:

    Perhaps a question we should address is what is failure and how do we treat it?

  2. Valid questions and we all define success and failure in our own ways and the definitions generally involves meeting or missing on our expectations.

    Treating failure (and success) as a learning experience and looking at the big picture can allow us to win the war, even if we lost a few battles along the way. In those moments when we fail, its sometimes difficult to see at the time yet remembering there are always additional options and new paths can also helps.

    thanks for commenting!
    David Goldstein recently posted..Is it a MISTAKE to be comfortable with FAILURE?My Profile

  3. for me, it is a big mistake. If everyone is comfortable every time they fail, then what is it that we thrive for success? We will never regret the things we did and what we should have done.

  4. I love that kinds of posts that stir me up and this was one of them. Fully agree that as of late, “failure” is being glorified. Possibly coming from our overly PC culture where nobody can judge and standards are all relative?

    Go in with the mind set of winning at all costs. In order not to grow and cultivate failure, don’t be so quick to look at the good points…sounds harsh right? But we need to take time where we sit in a chair and think about, “how did I blow it? how did I complete drop the ball? This was up to me and I failed…period”. Don’t sugar coat it…

    Think over the negative aspects, embrace them, then determine not to do them again. Sure consider all the good things that came along the way, but putting them too highly in the front, definitely leads to a culture of accepting 2nd place.
    Jacob Yount recently posted.."Well, I Told ‘Em To…"My Profile

  5. Some great inventions came out of failures to reach the intended goals, so I guess the definition of failure is not only difference from person to person but from incident to incident. I think you have to have failure to learn and improve. Sometimes the success IS knowing what caused something to fail. I think we are seeing the great entrepreneur age, full of creativity where everyone is trying to come up with the next life-changing gadget or service that would effect the world on a scale we couldn’t comprehend a decade or two ago. Along with this does seem to be the acceptance of failure…maybe too much.

    Aaa…you always make us stop and think. 🙂 “Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.” I like that quote. There is a lot to be said about having that attitude.
    Melinda recently posted..How to Fall Out of a Car GracefullyMy Profile

  6. I definitely agree with you! I love the way you convince us.. More power for you!

  7. Thumbs up right here! Perhaps not! Having a mistake is said to be not comfortable because it is a negative thought and doings.

  8. I love your secret plan.. Thanks for sharing your lessons in life.. Keep posting some more! 🙂