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8 Comments to
Failure IS an Option: On Why I Quit #NaBloPoMo

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  1. Thank you for raising these questions. Certainly the idea of failure creates a lot of suffering, and reading this got me to wonder if we’d be better off eliminating the word failure from our vocabulary! Life is a process, a series of steps, each of which tells us something and leads to the next. Life is about process and not the end result. Seems we could enjoy it much more if we either didn’t think in terms of failure, or didn’t think failure was a bad thing.

  2. It all depends how you define and treat failure. I treat it as a learning experience. Setting a goal of writing a blog post every day was one big goal!! Set up a realistic schedule for your blog posts and don’t pressure yourself too much. As for the volleyball, you didn’t fail…it just wasn’t your cup of tea.

  3. Hmm… failure. I have gotten fired twice in the past year, and in that sense I am a failure. But then again, I’ve travelled to the other side of the globe, received a bachelor’s degree and just gotten hired for Job#3. That shows some resiliency, so in that sense I am not a failure. I don’t think that getting fired makes me a failure. It gives me an opportunity to learn something about myself and try something different. If you never fail, you never tried. It is better to try and fail than to never try.

  4. I’m really thankful for your post. I’ve been caught for the better part of my life on a track on which I would in no way be unsuccessful but which i’m not overly thrilled about. I continue to push on for a slew of reasons I justify as social responsibility while putting my true grown uppy desires on the back burner. Maybe for fear of failure, not in succeeding, but for copping out. I know I can be successful but it’s the thought of giving up being successful at the one for the less sure and more self serving option that always holds me back. You’ve given me much to think about and for that i’m grateful. Good luck to you in that ever constant grind!

  5. I agree that failure is an option. However, as with most things in life there are priorities in failing. It’s far different to fail at a hobby or fail at a job. There are often things we must do for our own wellbeing or to maintain a responsible life. If we continue to fail at things then we might have to look at our self-knowledge or choice making skills. When we’re aligned with our goals, we are less likely to experience failure. A sense of failure can be detrimental to our self esteem, since our sense of self is reinforced by our behaviors.

  6. I’m 61 years of age(going on 27) and on disability (a poor word to describe the situation). I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II 20 years after my first counseling and discovered my DID, evident in retrospect, in 2004, about 10 yrs later.
    Part of my counseling has helped me see that I have both succeeded and failed at the same time many times.
    My mother accused me of ‘never finishing anything’. Also part yes and part no. How do you finish a job? Promotions change the job description, requests for my versatility has changed others. I have been hired for specific reasons and gone on, when it was time to go, to other things.
    The hardest thing in the world for me to do was to quit grad school. I had the intelligence but I didn’t have quite the right set of mental skills or physical abilities to be the kind of student I wanted to be. A near breakdown, at the end of a series of poor communication and support, pretty much alerted me to the fact. My advisers reminded me that a door behind me can be again opened or that door ahead of me can open into a new world. ‘Then the decision is easy.’
    Did I fail? I didn’t get the degree, no. Technically a failure. BUT, I learned more about myself, got information that would always be useful (my magic talent), and learned the skills that would enable me to work elsewhere, helping others by being the support, a position I’ve always been more comfortable in. PLUS having some very dear and long lasting friendships. Priceless. That sounds like success to me.
    You learn something every day. Use it. Learn to listen to your head and heart and gut. Get something good out of your apparent failures. You become stronger because of them. You are a survivor.

  7. In my schoolwork: I tend to get paralyzed by the need for perfection. Failure is not an option…getting anything close to failure is not an option.

    On the other hand, I have gotten pretty used to failing socially, and there failure seems to be practically the only option sometimes.

  8. This saying goes back to Apollo 13 Flight Director Grover Kranz’s declaration regarding the need to come up with a solution to the three astronauts stranded in space. Failure had several potential outcomes: the astronauts could remain stranded, their spacecraft eventually becoming an orbiting tomb to serve as a reminder of failure. They could find a way to make it home come in too shallow and bounce off the atmosphere, or come in too sharp and burn up, or come in too fast and crash. “Failure is not an option” didn’t originate with Kranz; it was a slogan since the Apollo 1 disaster, in which three astronauts burned to death on the launch pad while ground control listened and could do nothing.

    Of course, the more realistic version of this phrase is “Failure is not an option; it comes standard.”


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