Let's talk about failures
Mess-ups. Mistakes. Blunders. Screw-ups. Failures. We all experience them in various forms. The big. The small. The duh why did I do that? Of all the things in the world to have a conversation about, failure seems an odd choice.
From a young age, we are taught that failure is bad, that making mistakes means we are stupid and that the only consequence of failure is punishment. We try hard to never fail, and harder to hide it when we do.
Do not fail in silence
In a time when we are sharing every bit of our happening life, a conversation about failure makes us terrified. Sharing real failures has always remained underserved, it’s never easy to talk about because facing failure requires us to confront things that can feel demeaning, embarrassing, and shameful.
In our resume, we have a huge section for achievements but none for failures. Anyone who has achieved success at least once must have gone through failures at least twice. Yet we see a multitude of success stories but a handful of failures. Even those handful of failure stories talks about the positive impact, the lessons learned, and how failure helped them succeed. But the real failure stories remain buried inside.
Not all failures have a lesson to learn
Not all failures were necessary to shape you towards your success. There are different types of failures. Some failures may have something to learn, others are just failures, there’s nothing to learn from. Don’t dig deeper every time you fail trying to find what did you do wrong, how can you not fail again. There is no guarantee of success even if you make no mistakes, you failed because you did not succeed. You can never be fail-proof, so stop trying.
Everyone alive is going to die. One day we all fail to stay alive. Failure is inevitable.
Practice before you preach
How will it all make sense if I do not practice what I preach, right? Let me take this opportunity to share some of the failures of my life when I failed in silence.
The first time I failed academically was in my degree exam. All the people I studied with cleared the exam but not me, I felt shame, embarrassment, and pain. But as I said above not all failures have a lesson to learn from. It was not a lack of effort that I failed, I just failed because I did not pass.
Connecting with people
Human connection is not easy for everyone. I have always struggled to understand why people love to exchange pleasantries. Why can’t we cut short the pleasantry and come to the point?
Honestly sharing a failure so personal to yourself is more terrifying, I am reluctant to share this, but I believe I can allow myself to be vulnerable this time. While I was switching my career from finance to computer science, I was working eighteen hours a day for six months straight. I was exhausted and had no time left to devote to anything else, and it led to one of the biggest failures of my life. Not all failures are the pillars of your upcoming success. Sometimes we do everything right but still, fail and cannot do anything about it.
Professionally I have failed many times, I will share a few of them.
Ever since I entered the world of programming, I always fancied an app that will give non-programmers the ability to create bots and powerful automation without having to learn to code. WombBot was my dream project, but it failed. It failed because of my bad execution of the idea. Some failures do have lessons to learn. I learned my mistake of not creating an MVP (minimal viable product) to test the idea before developing the end product. I overloaded it with features and made it complicated for a non-programmer to understand. Though my first iteration failed, I still believe in the idea and I would still love to work on it the right way, someday in the future.
Affilio was a web app for affiliate marketers. It used to make the job of affiliate marketers easy by automating their campaigns. It did not fail and was generating positive cash flow throughout its lifetime but it had not seen the growth I expected from it.
I decided to shut down affilio so I could focus on conflux, which turned out to be a good decision as conflux is one of my most successful products.
There are many unnamed projects that I tried and have failed for various reasons. This post has already been very long, let’s keep those for another day another post.
But, why talk about failures?
Because it is difficult to talk about. It makes you vulnerable. It allows people to see who you really are. Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk about your failures in open, you are no longer afraid to fail. It will give you the ability, to recognize when accepting defeat is the right course of action.
Let’s start being transparent.
Let’s allow us to be fully seen.
Let’s start talking about our failures.
Let people see how miserable we were and still are.
Let’s make ourselves vulnerable, so we can experience a deeper level of compassion and intimacy.