Failure Is Neither Good Or Bad, Inherently

Fail fast.
Fail easy.
Fail often.
Repeat. Then Learn.

—’Learning Junkies’

There’s something profound – to me – in the simplicity of that thought.

Perhaps, it struck a cord because I’ve been reading a lot about the subject lately. Allow me to expand on the notion of failure with a few additional thoughts…

Failure is neither good or bad, inherently. It’s just an opportunity to improve.

There’s a transformational power that comes from changing how we think about failure. And, to me, this is a life skill that must be nourished in young people – whether they be athletes or not.

The way we filter experience is the precursor that determines our success.

Carol Dweck in her book Mindset speaks to what she calls a “fixed mind-set” versus a “growth mind-set”. Take a look at this graphic that’ll gives a visual snapshot of her thesis…

In order to move from good to great, failure must be embraced for all that it is: an opportunity to learn.

Thomas Edison, the much lauded American inventor, made the same point:

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

Samuel Beckett, the playwright, also expresses this maxim in his novella Worstward Ho:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”


RELATED: Want Student-Athletes to Succeed? Let Them Fail

Liz Dwyer, Education Editor for, highlights research on how a phrase as simple as this transforms how young people approach learning: “…learning is difficult and failure is common, but practice will help, just like learning how to ride a bicycle.