Why You Need to Embrace Failure
In a very broad sense, you're failing. No matter what you achieve in life and business, you'll always fail. And eventually, Costica Bradatan, an associate professor in the Honors College at Texas Tech University writes in The New York Times, you'll experience the "grand failure" and move on from this world.
But Bradatan, author of the forthcoming Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers, believes you should embrace your imperfect condition and realize how much you need and depend on failure to live and succeed. "For, in a sense, the capacity to fail is much more important than any individual human achievements: It is that which makes them possible," Bradatan writes.
Whether your company is continually hitting new milestones or appears to be crashing before your eyes, you need to realize the importance of failing. Below, read three ways Bradatan says you should be using failure to your benefit.
Let failure humble you.
As success inflates your self worth, failure curtails the delusion and brings you down to earth. Failure, as Bradatan explains, "reveals just how close our existence is to its opposite," meaning death. When you digest failure correctly, which is to realize how inconsequential you are to the world and how it's a blessing just to be alive, its power is humbling. Your arrogance and pride must not get carried away by success, and failure is "medicine" with a "therapeutic function" to help deflate your enlarged ego, Bradatan writes.
Spark success from failure.
Humans all have the capacity to fail. This, along with a strong fear of failing, is what helps us succeed. "It is crucial that we remain fundamentally imperfect, incomplete, erring creatures; in other words, that there is always a gap left between what we are and what we can be," Bradatan writes. In business, the saying "fail fast" isn't just an empty motivational cliché. It shows how failure leads to success, how it is the root, the spark, the aspiration of great achievements. "The spectacle of our shortcomings can be so unbearable that sometimes it shames us into doing a little good," Bradatan posits. "Ironically, it is the struggle with our own failings that may bring the best in us."
Make failure an art.
No matter how long you live, or what you do with your life, it will end in failure. Our "biological failure," Bradatan says, is the only certainty we have in life. Even still, with the gloom of your final "grand failure" lying at the end of every road you can take, you still push on and try to make something out of your short time here. Bradatan says life is about learning how to fail and gain knowledge. He illustrates the point by citing the epic chess match between Antonius Block and Death from the Ingmar Bergman film The Seventh Seal: Block "not only turns failure into an art, but manages to make the art of failing an intimate part of the art of living."
WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com
Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.