How To Embrace Failure

Robert Thompson
Stoic Gazette
Published in
3 min readJun 16, 2024


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Growing up, my brother and I shared a unique ritual with our father. Each week, without fail, he would sit us down at the dinner table and pose a question that seemed almost absurd:

“What did you guys fail at this week?”

To most, failure is a taboo topic, something to be avoided or hidden. But in our household, it was celebrated, dissected, and encouraged. At first, the logic behind this seemed counterintuitive. Why would a parent want their children to fail? But as time passed, the brilliance of my father’s approach became clear, and it profoundly shaped our lives.

The Fear of Failure: A Common Paralysis

In society, failure is often viewed as a negative outcome. From a young age, we are conditioned to avoid it at all costs. We fear the judgment of others and the sting of disappointment. This fear becomes a paralyzing force, preventing us from taking risks or trying new things. My father recognized this early on and wanted to ensure that my brother and I did not fall into this trap. He understood that the true failure lay not in the act of trying and not succeeding, but in never trying at all.

Redefining Failure: A New Perspective

My father’s dinner table question was his way of teaching us a different definition of failure. To…