When I first started this blog (once upon a time called juliavanvalkenburg.com, ha!) I wrote a post about embracing failure and why making mistakes is essential to our personal growth and discovery. That post was deleted during an overhaul not long ago, but I decided that it was a topic worth revisiting.
What is failure, anyway? When I first wrote about failure, my approach to the topic was far less nuanced. Now, I no longer subscribe to using that word. Beyond getting an F on a paper or exam, can someone even objectively fail?
We don’t fail, but we certainly mess up. We realize something isn’t right for us and we move on. We react. We make a mistake and respond by shifting our approach or perspective. We hopefully make decisions that are better for ourselves and others as a result of our mishaps. This isn’t failure, this is growing. So when I do use the word failure, I don’t mean it in the objective, pass or fail, hyper-success-driven American way of thinking. I mean hitting a wall and realizing there’s another path around it.
In my original post I shared 15 reasons why failing is important, but when I looked back on the list, my points all seemed so obvious. Maybe it’s because I feel as though I’ve failed too many times to count? Or it could be that I no longer care? There’s no clear-cut way of looking at success or failure; it’s all in your perspective. I could identify where I am in life at this moment as a massive failure, or a huge success. I could get down on myself every day for the countless long and short-term goals I have yet to achieve, or I could simply say that getting through each day is a success in itself. For now, I’m taking the latter approach.
Have you made it through your day? Then stop worrying about “failure.” Instead, work to be the best you can for yourself and for others.