Debunking “Failure Is Not an Option”

“Leaders who have never failed are fragile. They see the world divided between winners and losers, and they desperately want to avoid falling into that latter category, so they never try new things. If they tried something new, they might fail, and that would ruin their streak. When this type of person manages a team, then no one can fail, and that sets up a really terrible environment.”

-Chris Holmberg

I often hear people recite and live by the quote, "failure is not an option.” I wholeheartedly disagree with this mentality because often our greatest failures:

  1. Lay the groundwork for our greatest successes.

  2. Lead to innovation which is the uncovering of new ideas or processes that lead to better solutions. Conversely, fear of failure leads to risk intolerance and the status quo.

  3. Produce grit which helps us persevere in the face of future adversity. I love Possible’s definition of grit: indomitable spirit; passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

  4. Develop a stronger sense of self-worth because when you’ve failed, you become more resilient and remove your own self-worth from the outcome.

I’m by no means condoning failure. I hate to fail - far more than I love to win. But by embracing failure, I play to win with far more intensity and intelligence than if I feared it.

 
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