"There are no failures, there are no wrong paths."
This quote from Oprah, sometimes a video along with it, has been scattering my Facebook feed quite a bit lately. I've also noticed an incoming flux of articles on the importance of failure and how failure is just a natural part of life. Is this a recent trend? It seems society is quite taken with failure lately. Maybe it's due to the heightened pressures of perfection prompted by social media. Being barraged with filtered images of other people's most picturesque moments doesn't exactly inspire feelings of confidence and security in our own lives. Are we all just feeling like failures?
This countermovement of acceptance aims to reveal the (seemingly) paradoxical fact that success and failure go hand in hand. We have this deeply ingrained fear of defeat, and that fear causes us to avoid taking the risks that could potentially help us thrive. Society would have us feel embarrassed and ashamed of our mistakes, but everyone has failed at something. Read up on any successful person and you're sure to find a story of how they experienced disaster.
Three years ago, Jonathan Williams was taken with this idea of accepting and openly discussing failure. He, along with Jordan O'Neil and Austin Dean, wanted to "eliminate the fear associated with failure, and in doing so, encourage intelligent risk taking". Together, they founded Failure Lab, a curriculum designed to change the way failure is dealt with in the workplace. They ask questions like "what's holding you back", "what's stifling growth", and "what are you afraid of" to open a dialogue among coworkers and bosses. These classes help change the culture of failure in the workplace into one of self improvement and learning. By talking about failure, the idea of it becomes less and less intimidating. They remove the stigma of failure, and this allows for growth.
Read more about Failure Lab on their website: