Failing successfully

In my mind failure and failing have unbelievably bad connotations in the English language. We must not fail! We need to succeed, achieve and win. In sports, in life, in school, in work.

Over the last few weeks/months I have seen D fail, fail, fail and fail again. Be it trying to touch, grab, eat, lick, feed, sit, roll, she has failed over and over again, but each time she improves.

In 5 months she's gone from a newborn who basically just fed and slept to a "real" person who laughs, communicates, rolls over, sits up (ish) and genuinely engages in family life.

Why is there no space for failure? Why is it not encouraged?

Soon she will learn to talk, crawl, walk, draw, run and climb. Of course like all babies she will need to persevere and show determination to get there (nice positive words), but really she will fail, and fail and fail again. Perhaps try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, try, succeed! would be a better description.

What would school/work/jobs/life be like if there was license to try and fail?

Many times in my life I have been paralysed into inaction through fear of failure or fear of embarrassment if I fail. Where did that come from? Society? Is it just me? Is it using English as a language? my parents? my siblings? My piers? When did it happen? School? Uni? Home? At this point in my life do these questions even matter?

Perhaps better questions would be:

Can I re-learn to fail?

Can I help my kids continue to fail successfully?


I like that: failing successfully