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It’s our fault. We screwed it up from the start. We gave a word the wrong meaning. The peeps behind Merriam Webster missed the memo.

But really, can we redefine failure?

Words have dual meanings and complex concepts for sure. But “failure” in its current definition has just about the solidity of jello only 20 minutes into refrigeration. When I read the dictionary definition of failure, my brain does not compute. Because to me, the definition of failure should at least mention a thing or two about learning. We need to redefine failure.

It’s the perfect time of year to redefine “failure.” With all that is going on around us with global issues, losing jobs + family stress + a thousand things to manage + worrying about uncertain future effects + mental health + professional and personal growth; being in a constant state of anxiety and stress is the last thing we need right now. Everyone, you and me, is experiencing some sort of ‘failure’ in each ones’ capacity and/or standards. We need to remember that we are trying our best and most importantly – we’re in this together! You’re not alone. The certain norms of failure need to be addressed and redefined with one thing in mind – it does get better. Have patience and practice gratitude. Embrace failure and count it as a stepping stone to a bright tomorrow because no phase is permanent. This too shall pass.

But honestly, though, I’m over it. I’m tired of listening to everybody say they’ve failed or they can’t see a better tomorrow so they’ll just wait around for some fairy godmother to make things right. Why can’t you do something right now to better your tomorrow? Obviously you aren’t going to go research a vaccine to fight for this virus that’s killing the world around, unless you’re a scientist or medical professional, so leave that to the pros. What you can do is – to work on yourself and improve yourself so that when this is over, you’ll have a better chance of making everything okay. Don’t you see it? People were so used to the mundane, routine, monotonous, and machine-like regular scheduled life that they completely forgot how it would be otherwise. History is proof that we need to prepare for the worst and in such situations, know that there is only so much that we can do – focus, improve and grow ourselves individually so that when the negative is over, we all rise together. Every drop of water makes the ocean. And that is why we need to redefine our meaning of failure.


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Failure is a state of inability to perform a normal function. Yes, that’s correct, but what happens after that? Redefining Failure – Failure is a state of inability to perform a normal function, to leverage change or learning. Better? I think so.

I understand that to some, failure feels like an ending, but I will never stop wholly believing that to fail is to leverage a point of change and learning. Failure is not only a steep and inspiring learning curve, but it is a door to new experience, understanding, and excellence.

For those who receive failure with the right attitude, it can be an incredibly motivating kick-in-the-bum to do more, be more, and get back on the dang horse. It can provide that perfect “aha!” epiphany and draw us out of the same-same.

I would go as far as to say that failure is vital to our growth and continued approach to reaching our dreams.

Here’s a few reasons why.

Curvy learning

Some people trade learning curves in back alleys for cold hard cash and a black eye. Some people trade learning curves for family crises with no happy endings. We all trade learning curves for heartache, heartbreak, and a heart-shake. Without these experiences of hardship or “failure,” where would we be?

I currently trade learning curves with a 24/7 revolving door of work, personal growth (mostly anxiety) no matter how small it may seem, a bank balance that constantly mocks me, and being a young leader with a lot still to learn.

Glass case of emotion

Some days I’m in love with what I do for the sheer joy of creating and watching my vision come to life. Other days I wait anxiously to find out if something I’ve emailed off has reached the hands of a happy customer who appreciates the work, because if not, obviously I have failed as a human being.

Other days I frump around because my latest marketing activity seemed to flop faster than an Adam Sandler blockbuster. (he’s one of my fav people nevertheless) Then, of course, there are the dark days where I close my laptop and consider becoming a groundskeeper.

Like most people, I swing between various emotional states. And when I say swing, I mean a full-blown pendulum action—just ask my darling partner. But even in my lowest of lows, my pitch-black days when it feels like all I am is a 5 foot and 6 inches hot mess of epic failure, I still know, deep down in my anxiety-riddled heart, that right at that moment, I’m learning something.


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How bad can it be?

Think about your absolute worst-case scenario. That time you positively longed to melt into the ground below you and die a thousand deaths before gouging out your eyeballs with a teaspoon. When the taste of your perceived failure was so acidic that you couldn’t stand it. And ask yourself, 1) Could you handle it? And 2) Did you learn from it? The answer, will almost always be yes.

Sometimes you need to hit the bottom of the bathroom floor to find the gemstones. While it can be agonizing to endure and wrought with emotion, it’s important to allow yourself the freedom to fail.

Back on the horse

It’s in those dark moments, we need to get all Camp, bad-ass on ourselves, and force ourselves to get back up again. In life, and most certainly in business+work+personal life, real strength means picking yourself back up and trying one more time. Even after humiliation, anger, and pain.

Even after your 28th hard drive crashes into eternity with your holy grail of files. Even after the phone call politely parting ways with your services. Even after the revelation that you’ve missed the cut-off to submit your work for an award. Up you get, on your feet, and face the flame. Stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever.

You might make a risky business move and end up falling flat on your face. You might pour in your heart and soul into an idea only to find out that there is no market for it. Or perhaps your investment deal that looked oh-so-promising turns sour and leaves you for dead. The book deal crashes and burns. The new manager doesn’t last. The client hates your work. You feel like the star of an “epic fail” YouTube montage.

You can redefine failure in your own way.

What doesn’t kill you really will make you stronger, because when you try your best and learn from the rest, you never really fail at all.

So redefine and welcome failure with open arms and a new perspective on what it means for you in 2020.

redefine failure

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—–Have Hope. Keep Faith—–

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14 comments

  1. Yeah! Permission to fail. Ain’t a bad thing. Infact success is failure turned out. We fail inorder to succeed if we quit not. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this 😊 Its amazing how our personal definitions influence our perceptions. I believe that every situation can be interpreted several ways. Some ways lead to positive change and others keep you stunted. I see the current situation as an opportunity for re-evaluation and growth. The old way was not working so now is the time to change for the better. The difference between this time and other times we have had an opportunity to change is that everybody is doing it together and we’ve got lots of alone time to reflect.

  3. Good Post. Really enjoyed very motivating and the truth if it were ever spoken. Oh and thanks for stopping by my website. Blessings and Peace.

  4. Yes, I think this is a great piece, and I self worth in this world is sorely lacking in many, which is a great shame. I think it goes deeper in some aspects, manily due to the fact that we have a very skewed way of looking a worth. It seems to me for instance that teach or a nurse or a paramedic do more for society than a business manager or a stock broker, who are payed way more money and are looked up at, but I think both have a lot of worth in their own way, and if this could become a reality, then I think it would be better for the whole world, and it would be easier for people to find their inner worth. Best wishes, keep up this wonderful and thought provoking blog, blessings, Charles.

  5. Thanx for the inspiration!
    Humans don’t grow and improve if there isn’t some need or disaster pushing us along. If we’re too secure and comfortable, we stagnate (like the Eloi in H.G. Wells The Time Machine). Be grateful for the motivation to become a better you!

  6. Great post here. Thank you for sharing this inspiration. Indeed, we need to apply some breaks, stop, reflect and then move on. I totally agree with you.

  7. I think the term failure is degrading and people don’t want to fall into the category… that’s why they avoid it! I do that too…

  8. Whenever I hear the word failure, I think of how Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before inventing the lightbulb.

    It’s a constant reminder to get back up no matter how far things go south

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