Failure is a word with so much negative perception attached to it. We fear it, we do our best to avoid it, yet we seem to forget that failure in life is inevitable. And so, we let failure hold us back from achieving our utmost potential. What we need to remember is that no matter what, we will fail at something and there’s absolutely no shame in that! Failure is the opportunity to learn from mistakes, iterate and improve ourselves. I truly believe if we stop being scared to fail and instead embrace failure, we give ourselves the opportunity to reach higher potentials. One way of embracing failure is by making it public. Through that, we create a sense of urgency to improve ourselves, as well as let go of the shame and fear we have obtained towards our failures.
We can achieve higher potentials by embracing failure.
Here’s where a failure report comes in. I believe everyone should have a failure report, something to hold yourself accountable to, something to judge yourself with, something to spark that sense of urgency in yourself. This is not a report where you blast yourself, but just something to help you understand better where you went wrong, and get yourself thinking on how to improve things. Setting daily and monthly objectives is nice and of course helpful for personal improvement, but stating your failures publicly and not being ashamed of them is moving things to another level.
A failure report allows you to embrace your failures by making them public.
With all this being said, and keeping in mind that no one is perfect and neither am I, here is my failure report for the calendar year 2018:
- I failed at updating this blog on a regular basis. I kept writing every day, but I didn’t publish as I felt my writing was not genuine. I feared that people would not enjoy what I was writing, and at times felt hypocritical as I couldn’t always live up to what I was preaching.
- I stressed about my start-up and let it affect my health, instead of accepting every outcome (including failing at it) with equanimity.
- I failed at keeping in touch some of my close friends, partly because of my ego that “they should contact me first” or “why is it always me starting conversations”, and partly because I got busy taking life and work too seriously.
- I missed my family but failed at showing that to them. I thought avoiding such emotional conversations would make me tougher and stronger, but instead it just made me feel lonelier and sadder at times.
- I lost 2 friendships due to my failure to listen well sometimes to people who might be bothered by certain things I say or do.
- I failed at improving my Japanese language skillset. I don’t want to become the best speaker out there, but I should have recognized and accepted that a little goes a long way.
- I got healthier, lost weight but failed at getting more fit, mostly because I felt like opting out for a relaxed/lazy evening at home instead of working out or going for a run.
You can criticize and attack me for any of the failures listed above, but do remember, you have probably failed at the same things at some point in your life. So I highly encourage you to think of your own failures (and make them public if you have the means and capability to do so). Don’t run away or hide from them anymore.
Keep failing, but fail better, fail intelligently.
I am happy to have failed at so many things in 2018. It was the most challenging year for me yet, but I am confident that with this failure report being public, I will change my normal failures to intelligent ones.