Failure – the first in a series

Failure. It’s such a strong, horrible word, isn’t it? When I hear it, on its own or in the context of an attempt to achieve something, it makes my stomach churn. So clearly, I have some issues with the idea, let alone the potential of failure (and reality – I can’t even go there). I suspect I am not alone in this, and thought a good way to get some perspective on this was to write – and I’ll be writing a few posts on this over the next little while. Never done a series before – let’s see how we go. I am planning to write about –

  • What do we mean by ‘failure’? What is our measure? (after all, if we fear ‘failure’, we must have an idea of what is success?)
  • Learning to lose (drawing on very recent
  • In control – and letting go. Help, I’m fallling!
  • Taking a risk – What if things go wrong – what then?
  • Any other topic that I think of (and I am open to suggestions)

It seems appropriate to raise this topic this week, given we are in the lead-up to ANZAC Day, and engrossed in stories and details about what took place in Turkey one hundred years ago. One was to look at it, as so often stated, is that the ANZAC’s Gallipoli Campaign failed in its military objectives and also left so many families bereft of their sons, fathers., husbands – or returned them significantly injured and impacted.

Alternatively ‘the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future’.

More importantly, I think, than creating a national identify (which could be based on mythology that isn’t necessarily true, and reliant on a lot of terrible sacrifices, as The Age points out today), are the efforts of individuals. We are now hearing so many courageous stories of individual and groups efforts of the military (at all levels), those in charge of supplies or performing medical aids, and others who contributed, in conditions that I cannot even imagine.  Even if some stories may be slightly exaggerated, there are enough of them to show amazing commitment to others, to perseverance, to retaining as positive as would be possible in appalling conditions. In those conditions, to me, these people were successes. So was the campaign, or their efforts, failures? Were they successes? Or partly both? Depends how you measure it.

P1010473WW1 'Trench' school project (joint father and son effort). Thinking about what it would have been like to live in this brought home what the ANZACs went through

A final thought: It-is-impossible-to-live As much as I would love this not to be true (have I said I struggle with the idea of failure? Yes?), I know that it is. So I need to become more comfortable with it.

I hope you can join me working through my (and maybe your) struggles with the idea of failure – I think only when we are more comfortable with the notion, and persevere anyway, that we can live our fullest lives.

Linking up with the Weekend Rewind, hosted by Maxabella LovesSoniaKelly Exeter and Lila Wolff .

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14 thoughts on “Failure – the first in a series

  1. I think this is going to be a very interesting series indeed, Helen. I am sure that I have had many spectacular failures, but I am never one to dwell on them and therefore i am never one to try to avoid them. I take them as they come, try to learn SOMETHING (generally I am so busy trying to put the darn thing behind me that I fail on this front miserably – two failures for the price of one?) and get on with something else. I can’t imagine being any other way. x

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    1. Thank you – I’m hoping to get past the point of dwelling, or in fact, avoiding, through writing this. I suspect part of the answer will be getting to a similar point that you are at, and get more comfortable with taking things as they come, and plunging in a bit more (I can but try!) x

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  2. Reblogged this on Home base and commented:

    Linking up with the Weekend Rewind, hosted by Maxabella Loves, Sonia, Kelly Exeter and Lila Wolff – I’m tackling the issue of Failure (name it, explain it, and hopefully tame it!) I’d love you to join me in this series! Cheers, Helen

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  3. I really love that you are examining this as a series, I do think that we often have so much pain and fear surrounding failure that we can lose valuable lessons because we are too squeamish to examine it deeply.

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  4. As scary as failure is, it can also be a good point for reflection. I used to be a dweller, now I try to move on and see what I can actually learn from the situation. Interesting series idea Helen, I look forward to following where it goes.

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  5. I’m so with you! Failure is a hard task for me to grasp, but in a way we need to experience it in order to learn, grow and move forward. I think we see failure as a ‘fatal’ flaw, when really it’s not at all! Very interesting post!

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    1. Yes, I don’t think we acknowledge it enough (certainly, looking at it both from the perspective of an adult now, but also through my children’s eyes, it is a struggle) but as you say, we need to ‘fail’, in a way at times, in order to grow. Challenging!

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    1. Well, that’s right, and that’s why I thought it would be good to tackle (I’m sure there are other people like me who let the fear hold them back in some areas of life) xx

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  6. That JK Rowling quote is a cracker. And so very true to boot. I think you know I don’t really like/believe in the word (failure). I passionately believe in ‘trying’ and ‘learning’ from the experience. I also passionately believe it is better to have tried and ‘failed’ than to never have tried at all (unless the trying causes great pain to another).

    I look forward to seeing what you unearth in this series xx

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    1. Thank you Kelly! I’ve just come back to the computer after comforting my boy who couldn’t sleep because he is afraid he will do badly in cross country tomorrow. Badly – against what measure? We’ve been talking through these very issues (and then I needed to read him to sleep, with a few pages of Harry Potter vol 5 – so JK Rowling is very topical here at the moment). I think it’s something we as a family can slip into easily, so I am keen to explore it – as I’ve said somewhere ‘name it, explain it (as much as I can) and hopefully tame it’ to some degree at least xx

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