What is Failure?

11 Flares Twitter 8 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 3 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 Email -- 11 Flares ×

Failure may be a muse.Perhaps failure is a gift. Perhaps it’s the muse, as Hugh MacLeod suggests. Perhaps it isn’t the terrible thing it sometimes is made to be.

Failure often is viewed as a negative, but I think it might be better to see it as a positive. If I fail at something, it means I’ve tried. I may feel awful about that failure, and, as a perfectionist, I know I will, but I at least tried. I didn’t let my fears of failure keep me from making the attempt.

Once I’ve made that attempt and failed, I can try again. Maybe I won’t try again with that certain project or activity, but I might be less afraid to try another activity or to start a new project. The failure might give me a better sense of direction, as it did this past November. Yes, interacting with that failure was awful, but it eventually revealed what I truly wanted to do and caused me to pursue a different avenue.

Failure, then, can result in one of two responses. The first is stasis. I am so afraid of failing again that I refuse to try anything new. The second is momentum. The failure causes me to investigate new pathways. It inspires me to seek different answers. It becomes my muse.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is Senior Director at Tenacity5 Media and founder of Write Right. She's a writer, editor, poet, and artist. You can find her on .

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube



  1. […] fear failure.” Again, this can be true. Perfectionists and overachievers often are paralyzed by a fear of failure. I pose the argument this way: would you prefer to do nothing and be filled with regret or would […]

  2. […] Failure is a prerequisite. No good work occurs in the absence of it. Failure is the instructor, the guide. It tells the writer to not go in one direction and to try another. […]

11 Flares Twitter 8 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 3 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 Email -- 11 Flares ×