Failure is defined by the Mirriam-Webster dictionary as “omission of occurrence or performance” (specifically a duty or action), “a state of inability to perform a normal function” or “a fracturing or giving way under stress”.
It has a few other definitions involving bankruptcy, deterioration and the very profound “one that has failed”, but I’d like to take a moment to consider the first few meanings.
An omission of performance, an inability to perform and crumbling under pressure: all things we fear, often to the point of irrationality. We know we should learn from our mistakes but gloss over the fact that mistakes are uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. Fear is toxic in itself: it cripples preventing you from functioning, so it is naturally intertwined with failure.
We all have that one big screw-up that was bigger than all the rest, the one that left us feeling gutted and empty inside. Although we always preach learning from our mistakes, if asked, how comfortable would we feel discussing it openly? And would we be able to scribble down a sterile list of lessons learned?
Or would we sit there, glossing over the details of our experiences and ultimately attribute responsibility of that failure to someone else. Because it is too frightening to admit that we just couldn’t do it: no explanations or excuses, and in doing so, take responsibility.
Just a thought.