Failure is the only option.

Failure. To fail. To not succeed. To not accomplish a task. To not complete your objective. It has seriously negative connotations and yet it is simply one part of the learning curve.

I know parents want to shield their children from the evils that exist in the world. We all do.  It is a natural reaction. But I think children need to be exposed to a little more that is less than perfect. If they only experience rainbows and unicorns when they are young, they won’t be able to understand life when they are adults.  Failure is a part of life, a big part. It is one of the best educational tools we have. And if we don’t take advantage of it, the cost down the line can be catastrophic.

We love to regale others with our successes, our shining wins.  No one ever likes to talk about a loss, our mistakes, our failures. Somehow, we think it will make us seem less worthy. Whereas I believe the opposite is true. How you deal with your failures, strengthens your character and will provide you with a template for future situations.

An example:  I was 16 and all excited about getting my Driver’s License. The freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted was intoxicating. I failed my first driving test. I was devastated. I didn’t understand why I had failed but I had. I wallowed for a while in a ‘pity me’ haze. And then my parents pointed out to me that the first test was a trial run. I needed to study more, practice more and I would nail it on the next try. They were right. When I first took the test all I could see was what I would be free to do, I didn’t think at all about my responsibilities with that Driver’s License. There are laws, rules that I had to follow and to respect. I did the second time around. Failure was good for me.

When I was a youth, I belonged to The Girl Guides of Canada. It was a wonderful organization; it probably still is. I was taught how to put up a tent properly, how to appreciate the outdoors, how to work in a team. I was also taught how to make a fire without a match. The first 50 times I failed. I failed again and again and again. What I didn’t do was stop trying. And eventually I became one of the best at making fire using two sticks and a little sweat equity. It was such a moment of achievement for me because of my previous failures. I learned to never give up. It was a life lesson I never forgot.

The only way you will truly fail, is to never try.

 

 

34 thoughts on “Failure is the only option.

  1. Dan Antion

    Failure is a great teacher, Pam. Sometimes, it even points us in a better direction. We shouldn’t shield anyone from failing. As long as you try, and keep trying. Growing up during the space race, I remember the colossal failures of rockets blowing up on the pad. I remember men dying. And, I remember men stepping onto the moon.

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  2. Murphy's Law

    “The only way you will truly fail, is to never try.” My dear friend, you said a mouthful! How would we ever recognize achievement if we’ve never looked failure square in the eye?

    Showing my dad my less than stellar report card, he read it thoroughly. My knees were knocking and my heart was pounding. I tried to brace myself for whatever punishment was coming my way.

    Instead, he said, “If you can HONESTLY tell me you tried your very best, then I’m very proud of you. And hallelujah, I could honestly tell him just that! 🤗

    My dad taught me more about failing and achieving with that one report card than I could have hoped for.

    Love your painting!
    Ginger

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      1. quiall Post author

        That was excellent! I could see my father in your words. He hated someone I thought I was going to marry and it wasn’t until after we parted ways he told me the truth. He too was a wise man.

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  3. joylennick

    Thanks Pamela. Although he was a very good father in most ways, if my brothers or I ever received a ‘C’ for something (not unusual…) he would say “That’s not good enough!” while Mum always said, “Well I’m sure you tried. I bet you’ll beat that next time!” Encouragement too can work wonders. But we do have winters to fully appreciate the Spring….

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  4. John Hric

    If all the pieces fall right into place the first try how much have we learned ? If we have to pickup the pieces and figure things out to make it work how much have we gained ? Failure while painful and messy is an important part of the learning curve. The blunt explanation – that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Not that we have to strive for the near death experience.

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  5. rangewriter

    EXCELLENT! Yes, I learned how to fail early on. I used to compete in Little Britches rodeo and in 4-H. First I rode an ancient, partially lame pony with a heart the size of Canada. Then I graduated to my own, self-trained horse. I don’t believe I ever won a blue ribbon. I had boxes and boxes of white, 3rd place ribbons, but 1st place eluded me. First, my pony’s legs were too short to be competing against the long-legged horses of my competitors. And then my horse was just a horse, trained by me. Our competition was registered quarter horses, Arabians and Morgans, some of which, I later learned, had been professionally trained. I would get my hopes up each week, thinking THIS will be the time we’ll win. And as the competitor’s faster times were announced, the pit in my stomach grew larger and my eyes stung. But my mother kept saying, Not everyone can win. There have to be 2nd placers, third placers, and even the one at the very end. That never made me feel better, but I learned how to swallow my pride and my hopes and keep on trying the next time.

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  6. Sorryless

    This is so good, Pam.

    You reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, from Michael Jordan. This isn’t verbatim but the gist of it is this “I have failed again and again, and that is why I succeed”.

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