Why Give a Damn:
Fear of failure has prevented people from falling in love, becoming artists, telling friends the truth, and chasing dreams without apology. If we are going to continue to shy away from failure, it’s time we redefined it.
The author of this post, Daniel Epstein, has founded and run several startup accelerators, is a serial entrepreneur who currently runs Unreasonable Group, and is proud to admit that many of his “successes”, including the Unreasonable Institute, were born out of what others would see as “failures.”
Instead of trying to convert the world to embracing failure, we simply need to redefine it. Tweet This Quote
I think we need to re-brand the definition of failure and our conceptions of it entirely. The fear of failure stops too many great minds from creating something meaningful in the world. It halts too many of us from living extraordinary lives. The fear of failure has prevented people from falling in love, becoming artists, telling close friends the truth, and has prevented the majority of us from chasing our dreams without apology. Why? The current definition is off… We need to re-think it.
For the past decade or so, there has been a globalized movement and shift in thinking across much of the startup world that has allowed entrepreneurs to embrace failure as a learning journey. Although this has been effective for the world of startups (though we are just scratching the surface), it has yet to be accepted and embraced by the other 99.8% of the population. I think that instead of trying to convert the world to embracing failure, we simply need to redefine it.
Old definition of Failure:
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to Fail means “to not succeed: to end without success. To not succeed as a business: to become bankrupt. To weaken or lose strength.”
The antonym for failure is success.
New Definition of Failure:
According to the new Unreasonable Dictionary (why not =), to Fail means “to not start doing something you believe in. To stop doing something you believe in just because it is hard. To ignore your gut instinct around what you believe is right and wrong.”
The antonyms for failure are inaction, cowardice, and acting unethically.
If we adopt this definition, then I think everything changes. Especially if you look at the antonyms. It’s no wonder the world is scared of failure when the current antonym is success. Change that antonym to inaction, cowardice, and acting unethically and I believe everything changes. If we can re-brand the word, we can re-brand our posture to it and my hope, is that collectively and individually, we can start chasing our dreams and the meaning we want to see in our lives with less hesitation. Even if just a small fraction of us do this, I’m convinced the world will be a hell of a lot of a better place.
It’s no wonder the world is scared of failure when the current antonym is success. We must change the definition entirely Tweet This Quote