Why Failure should be renamed

One of the most fear-inducing words of the Western world is simply misunderstood.

What's important to note is my reference to failure is in the realm of not realising or achieving one's personal goals or dreams, for either 'failing' in the process, or not attempting them at all for FEAR of failing.


Recently I went to a live podcast recording titled "Fearlessly Failing" with my dear friend Lola Berry. What a joy it was, to be in a room full of people keen to hear about failing and just want it means to fail without fear, but with Bravery!

What I took away from the session, combined with my own diving into just what failing really means, is just how much 'society,' teaches us to fear it, judge it and avoid it at all costs.

Even that means locking yourself in your room/office/mental prison for the rest of your life so you don't lose face.


Now, I'm not talking about this fear of failure in an objective sense either. Something that has become increasingly obvious in my own life is just how debilitating this fact has been for me too! It's not to say I haven't gone and done things that could be considered scary, or a risk (bungy jumping, skydiving, canyon swinging, travelling through the North of India solo, or tasting the open almond milk that's been sitting the fridge for a week and a half, just as some examples...)

But I have definitely shied away from truly acting upon my dreams. I have planned, talked about, studied, bought domain names and a post office box, but I have been afraid of embodying my goals in a literal, physical sense - which includes being seen.


The Oxford dictionary states that to fail means to 'be unsuccessful,' to 'become weak' or to 'cease functioning.'

If we take that meaning and we angle it towards an object or device of some sort, or an experiment then this definition makes absolute sense.

Of course, if your lottery ticket didn't get pulled out - that's unsuccessful.

If your ice melts in your cordial, then the flavour, it's become weak.

If you are completely dumbfounded/in awe/floored with marvel at Margot Robbie's performance in Birds of Prey, to the point where you are just staring at the credits, eyes glazed over, with a giant smile on your face - then you've ceased to function.


But if we turn that perspective on a person, on ourselves, then it just simply isn't true.

Imagine you're chasing your dreams right now, and let's look at the same definitions.

To be Unsuccessful;

There is no time limit to your dreams and aspirations. So to not have achieved it the first, the second, or the hundredth time, or to have even changed your mind on the idea itself, does NOT mean you're 'unsuccessful,' it just means you haven't succeeded YET.

To become Weak;

The very act of committing to your ideas and dreams is strong.

The act of continuously trying and chasing those ideas and dreams regardless of the detours, roadblocks and slaps in the face you've been given, is incredibly strong... So the complete OPPOSITE of weak.

To Cease Functioning;

To be honest, as long as you're still breathing and have the need to empty your bowels on occasion, you're functioning whether you want to or not.


'Failure' is our greatest teacher.

It shows us where the idea is lacking, it shows us where our true desire lie, it shows us ways to build strength in the physical, the literal and the conceptual states of our dreams, ideas and actual being.

What I am really getting at is, if 'failure' as we perceive it right now, didn't exist, what would you be inspired to do?

Would you take up that dance class?

Would you paint that canvas?

Would you connect with that person who can teach you/collaborate with you on that business idea?

Let's retitle the concept of failure on a personal scale, to something more encouraging, inspiring and FUN dammit!

Something like...

Risky playtime with the world

No? Well, this is a collaboration I'm offering you - what do YOU think we should call it??

With love and a dusting of (sustainable) glitter,

Hannah xxx

P.S If you'd like to read/listen/watch some interesting content about failure, here are a couple of things I found really inspiring;

There's a bunch more I could list - just shout out if it's content or a list you'd like!

Ideas? Thoughts? Curiosities? I'd love to hear from you! 

© 2019 by Hannah's Umbrella - hannahsumbrella@gmail.com