Can Failure be designed for to learn better?

“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.” Samuel Beckett

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Image by Bethany Legg

Failure, the Joy of Success

Would you ever think of juxtaposing words with such contrasting meanings – Failure. Joy. Success? 

For most of us, Failure is not only shameful but it is also a major set back. We dread it as if it were the plague. We don’t welcome it into our lives and definitely never want to talk about it, unless it concerns someone else.

Intellectually we understand why it is a necessary step towards success and self-awareness but on an emotional level, we hate it! Why should we endorse something so painful and seemingly hurtful?

Experiment. Fail. Reiterate. Learn.

Most of us, especially in some European countries have been conditioned to view failure as our enemy. 

How interesting knowing that failure is directly linked to success. One would not exist without the other as light would have no meaning without darkness.

If we take a close look at the most successful people in the world, they all failed multiple times. Instead of dreading it and avoiding it at all cost, they embrace it and in most cases invite it.  They recognised early on that failure is a necessary step to success. They fall, get themselves back up and do it again – over and over and over again.

Embrace failure and use it to your favor

What if failure was just a temporary interruption? What if we intentionally designed for it to learn better? 

On a quest to find the answer to my questions, I sought out Experts and Taste Makers all over the world and asked them if they had ever failed. As you can imagine the answer was always a clear YES! Failure is part of their daily life and no time is ever spent dwelling about it – when there is nothing to lose then everything becomes possible, as long as the lessons are learned.

The video below captures the essence of what I try to describe so eloquently. The main protagonist, Professor Manu Kapur happens to be researching Productive Failure at ETH Zurich. How fitting! 

“The knowledge of emerging stronger and wiser from set backs means that you will always be secure in your ability to survive. You will truly never know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity. This is a true gift even if a painful one” – J.K. Rowling


Written by Ariane Tavakol

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