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Failure: Do you treasure failure or success?

Clint Maun, CSP

Kenneth Boulding said, “I have revised some folk wisdom lately; one of my edited proverbs is nothing fails like success because you do not learn anything from it. The only thing we ever learn from is failure. Success only confirms our superstitions”.

These words of Boulding are very powerful. Think of it! Without failure we can learn nothing, and yet we have learned to treasure success as the only acceptable standard. Failure really can be instructive. It can be an incentive to work and exploration. It can even be considered success if it points the way to new discoveries. However, apprehension of failure is a big part of fear of the unknown. Some people avoid anything which doesn’t guarantee success. Some typical “fear of the unknown” behaviors include:

  • Eating the same kinds of foods for a lifetime
  • Wearing the same kinds of clothes forever
  • Reading the same material which supports your same viewpoint
  • Always living in the same neighborhood, city, or state
  • Avoiding anyone you label as a deviant
  • Staying in the same job even though you dislike it
  • Taking vacations in the same place
  • Dismissing certain activities which you’ve never tried
  • Refusing to listen to ideas which you do not share

These are but a few of the activities which will allow you to get in the success rut and eventually miss true success. Are you willing to fail?