Failing Is The Best! (And Other Short Tales)

Nobody goes out seeking failure, except perhaps social scientists testing a hypothesis on failure. (In which case, assuming their failure turned out to be a success, would it really be a failure at all? Yes, and also no. Anyway, moving on.)

But everybody fails. Everybody, no exceptions, has failed at something.

Here’s an example. I don’t know how to ride a bike. I did, at one point, but then I turned 10 years old, and then I stopped; and I thought about starting up again but instead I decided that’s it, I’m done, I failed.

Then a few years ago I was living in Brooklyn and everyone and their hipster vegan hairless cat rode a bike, and the pressure to ride a bike became so strong that I entered a raffle and won a brand spankin’ new bike. Of course, I soon wanted nothing more than to learn how to ride a bike.

My very patient boyfriend and his very patient roommate walked me and my bike to a nearby park where I attempted to face my fears. After falling off repeatedly and taking a half hour break to sit on the sidewalk and stare at the bike in fear, I was ready to give up again. Failure was imminent until—

As if on cue, a friendly stranger arrived.

“Trying to learn how to ride a bike? If riding on the pavement is too scary, try that grassy area over there. Less traffic.”

Eh, why not. I tried it out.

That biking thing is awesome! I probably rode it for another ten minutes before I decided that I had exhausted my bike quota for at least the next year.

The moral of this story?

Failure is not an end point. Failure is simply the circumstances-that-be shouting at you to try a different tactic until you can redefine success.

Failure is one of the essential steps to discovery, and if you can’t face failure, you definitely can’t face success.

And if you can’t ride a bike, you could still invest in an adult-sized Razor Scooter.

Originally published on December 12, 2014.

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