Failure Doesn’t Suck

Two comments from Sir James Dyson that resonate with me:

I don’t mind failure. I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.

We’re taught to do things the right way. But if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way. Initiate a failure by doing something that’s very silly, unthinkable, naughty, dangerous. Watching why that fails can take you on a completely different path. It’s exciting, actually. To me, solving problems is a bit like a drug. You’re on it, and you can’t get off. I spent seven years on our washing machine [which has two drums, instead of one].

In general, I don’t think we (as society) appreciate and accept failure as much as we should, or maybe we just mislabel them (i.e. call things failures that should be called something else).

Learning how (and when) to fail gracefully and with pride (instead of shame) has been a tough element to learn. However, I’ve found that being okay with failing has lots rewards that make me a happier person, in particular because I’m not as anxious anymore.