As Featured on News Cult: Why It’s OK to Fail

Failure is our middle name. It’s the one thing we’re successful at. And generally, we’re taught that failure is bad, and we should avoid it and be ashamed of it. But I actually think there isn’t anything that’s more human than failure; and that’s why we shouldn’t run away from it, but should accept it. Embrace it. Failure is a flaw, and more than anything else, humans are imperfect.

Imperfection is hard to come to terms with–I often find myself debating what the meaning of ‘imperfection’ even is. Like, is to be imperfect to unknowingly and unintentionally make mistakes and fail? And if so, is the caveat that you have to learn from those failures and not repeat them in order to maintain the title of “imperfect”? And if you don’t, you’re no longer imperfect, but, rather, malicious, or evil, or at the very least, intentionally “bad”? (In which case we’re SOL because we’re experts at making the same mistakes repeatedly). I don’t get it. But every time I find myself coming to the same confused lack of conclusion, I remind myself that maybe that’s the point–maybe not knowing is the point. Maybe not knowing is imperfection and imperfection is not knowing. Not knowing what to do, what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. But just going through it all regardless.

All this is to say that imperfection, including failure, is natural and a painfully inescapable part of the process of living. And maybe the less we fight against it, the less we’ll fail. Think about it–if you’re drowning, and kicking and desperately grasping, you lose strength and breath more quickly than if you try to remain calm and get your head above water. If you’re failing, stop resisting it so much, and you may find that good things follow. I hate to get all zen because I am by no means a calm person and generally get like Charlie Sheen bad when anyone tells me to calm down, but I kind of really believe that an accepting, serene approach to things is the way to live.

Not to mention that failure is a great way to build character. It’s such a cliché, but you learn so much from failing. Like I learned that physics is the Devil’s magic when I failed the test I spent endless hours studying for and totally thought I fully comprehended in my Advanced Physics class my junior year of high school. And when I got caught stealing a shot of my dad’s expensive whiskey when I was 15, I learned to always go for the vodka because you can more easily replace it with water. Or like when all of my relationships failed I learned to never date again and welcome the reality prospect of dying alone.

See, failing is super normal, nbd, and you really gain more from it than you lose. And also whose standards are we following anyways? Who decides what is success and what is failure? Like, my doctor and society at large may say I failed at my diet, but another possibility is that I succeeded at not losing weight. Or just because your state government says you have to pass standardized testing doesn’t mean you’re not smart enough if you don’t. Remember a little someone named Einstein who failed 4th grade? Or at least that’s what I’ve heard but haven’t actually fact checked? Need I say more? Ok I’ll say more: another great example is vision tests. 20/20 seems like an awfully subjective number to me..

The point is, it’s really OK to fail–whatever that means for you. Sure, there may be certain boundaries here. Like, maybe saying that you failed to not pull the trigger isn’t the best excuse to get you off the hook for shooting someone. But short of extreme cases like that, failure is subjective and fluid and uncertain and just the way it goes. So settle in, stop fighting it, and get ready to fail. A lot. And then fail some more. And then pass on your failure genes to your children, and your children’s children. Unless you fail to conceive. Which, like, isn’t really your fault except that you have weak sperm and/or a really hostile uterus and I don’t blame your nonexistent child, I wouldn’t want to spend 9 seconds, let alone 9 months, inside of you.

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One thought on “As Featured on News Cult: Why It’s OK to Fail

  1. bensbitterblog says:

    I figure since I’m going to fail, I should fail in a funny way so at least people get a laugh out of it. Though that can sometimes be the kind of fail that is falling or causing other things to fall, or people. Whoops sorry about accidentally tripping your sir. I totally didn’t mean to film it either. And sorry that it looks edited to make you look the worst possible way in the worst possible light. I just didn’t see you there. Oh and whoops sorry about mistakenly posting that on my weekly giftures for amusement of all the people that read my blog. It’s only a few people… a few hundre…a few thousand. But don’t worry, most of them don’t read it… and by most I mean just about only two or three.


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