Awesomeness in the World Karen

How Bad Is It, Really, When We Fail?

Karen Fail
Photo by Daniela Cuevas

There is nothing idealistic or romantic about failing. It is part of life. It is humbling. It is discouraging. It depletes us (for a moment), yet reminds us (if we so choose) to remain relentless.

How bad is it, really, when we fail? Is it really that awful?

Hurts our pride, sure. Creates embarrassment, yes, okay. Reminds us we’re at least giving it our best shot, absolutely!

Failure is the omission in our performance; the state of inability; a giving way under stress; a lack of success; a falling short. (gee, thanks, Mirriam-Webster, rub it in a little more…)

We can view our shortcomings as opportunists or with defeatism. Listen carefully to what I’m about to write – I need your full attention!

DO NOT QUIT! DO NOT GIVE UP! You’ve come this far. You are so close. To what? To progress, to the outcome you desire, to fulfilling what you believe you are to do. Remain steadfast. Persevere. Hang in there. Surround yourself with cheerleaders.

If you focus on a plant and cultivate it, water it, weed it and nurture it – it will grow. To what extent? We’re never quite certain. But we are certain it will grow. Ask yourself, “Instead of quitting, is there opportunity for just a little more room for growth?” If there is room, even an inkling of forward progress, then do it!

Your character is not in question. This has nothing to do with character. Failure is not associated with our character. Failure is associated with our attempt to try. This is solely about performance (an action), and performance lends itself to immeasurable opportunities.

Look back on your timeline. How far have you come? Has there been progress? Then, I petition you, keep going!

You don’t know yet what that missing piece is. But you will find it. It may take some time, and that’s okay. It might come about through a big “aha” light bulb moment beaming from your brain! It may come through a passing comment you overheard. Maybe you’ll figure it out through reading, writing, learning, analytics or research. You may find that “clue” in the quietness of contemplation, through nature or outdoor activities. You get the gist! There is a missing piece. Pioneer that you are, you will figure it out.

Which club do I want to belong to? The club that has paved the way for us newbie ‘failurites’ to believe it’s possible. Check out what these greats have to say about failure!


Winston Churchill said “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”

Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

James Cameron said, “There is room for failure; there is no room for fear.”

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

J.K. Rowling said, “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” 


Don’t be afraid to fail. Chances are, there will be moments it happens. And that’s okay. Note: I said “moments” not a “lifetime.” Failure is temporary.

A perfect path has already been trodden upon. A new path requires the forerunner to carve the clearing. C’mon forerunner, carve away!

– Karen Thrall

* also published on

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