Ep 9: Failure is Awesome

Failure shouldn’t be something you fear and avoid at all costs. It is actually useful and perhaps even necessary to long term success.


We think that failure shouldn’t happen and that if it does, it means that something has gone wrong. But failure is not the opposite of success. It’s the path to success.

We do not achieve success when we put sufficient distance between ourselves and our failures. We achieve success when we learn to bring our failures close, examine them with clear-eyed compassion, learn what we can from them, and use them as fuel for future growth.

Don’t fear failure! When a scientist does an experiment, he or she must be open to any result. Some results are good/positive and some are bad/negative but they are all useful data points.

The correct response to failure is to try again. But we don’t want to just keep trying the same thing over and over again. We want to try in a slightly different way, informed by the failure.

Key takeaways:

  1. Embrace failure! As Brooke Castillo says: “Failure is currency. Success is what you buy with it.”
  2. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from making a decision to move forward.
  3. Plan for failure so you don’t get surprised and thrown off course by it.
  4. Gathering the data from failure is the best way to determine your next move.

Lab Experiment:

The next time something doesn’t go the way you hoped or planned that it would, practice cognitive flexibility. Consider how you could view this moment as a growth opportunity rather than a setback.

What can you learn from this that will move you closer to your goal?

Write down the events that lead to the outcome, the outcome itself, and then list the things you could do differently next time.