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.
WW1 '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
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.