What is it with our obsession with failure? Google the phrase “learn from failure,” and steep yourself in 309 million articles and blog postings. Roughly 30.9 million new ones will be posted today, a good percentage targeted toward people in the marketing field.
Chicken and egg: Are so many treatises on failure needed because we all f&ck things up constantly, or are we so self-loathing that our demand for this type of “journalism” can’t be sated?
Who reads this bullsh&t, and who gets anything out of it?
The dictionary doesn’t help much in this case (you might say it FAILS). Not meeting desired goals or proving unsuccessful seem a little harsh to carry the label “failure” in a business context.
Your outlook on this can be calibrated by how you answer this political example: if you believe Newt Gingrich’s second-place showing in the Florida primary was a failure, then those 309 million articles will warm your heart. Enjoy.
Think of it like this. You go to work every day, or to your home-based office, or to the retail business you own, and within the first hour you make about five mistakes. Some tasks have turned into projects, and these are plodding along, a few going pretty well, the others not so well. You create a special thing during the day – a report, a speech, a special dish of pasta – and your audience either liked it, or didn’t.
And then you go home.
None of this can be classified as failure. Piloting your big-ass cruise ship into a bunch of rocks and giving your passengers a new take on “360-degree views from our deck” (sadly, a current Carnival Cruise out-of-home campaign), killing a few of them in the process – THAT is failure.
Only a tiny, tiny slice of the worker population stands at the helm. (And, ironically, those folks would be the last to ever read a “Five Tips To Bounce Back From Failure” piece-of-sh&t blog post.)
For the rest of us, as long as we do our best, the idea of “failure” should only come into play under the rare scenarios of (1) getting fired for cause, or (2) losing a self-owned business.