Removing the word "Fail" from our language - Fail Forward

As much I would really like to remove the word "fail" from the dictionary, I think that is highly unlikely. The reason why I want to remove it is because of the negative connotations associated with the same.


It all starts when we are at school and we have graded tests where we basically will ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. Which makes me think, if I wanted to change the word fail should we also think about changing the word ‘pass’? I love in Carole Dweck talk how she talks about a college that grades students with, "not yet" rather than the word 'fail'.


I like to listen to Sarah Blakely’s story where she shares her father encouraged her to ‘fail’, so as to create a learning mindset. More recently you will also hear Carole Dweck talk to the principles of a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset. If you understand the words ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ you can very quickly get a sense of the meaning of the words as associated with mindset. Apologies to Carole if I have totally oversimplified the principles.


Seriously, do you have a mindset in which you are ok with making mistakes, continuously learning, failing? Or do you give yourself anxiety and panic attacks by trying to be perfect? I know I used to do the latter. I was so scared of failure that it really didn’t contribute to my mental or physical health. However, now that I have changed my mindset, and my neurons are on fire, it’s ok to “let it go, and let God” as I am sure you have heard many people say.


When thinking about what I am doing, I challenge myself, with the following questions:


  1. Is this something that I am really passionate about? If it isn’t then when am I spending time on it? I have to pay bills, and I am not passionate about that – some tasks just need to be done quickly and painlessly so I can move on.

  2. If I don’t get this done by the deadline, is it ok? Sometime, myself and others can give unrealistic deadline (for many reasons). Ask questions about the reality of the deadline.

  3. What is the worst thing that could happen to me if I fail? If I really think about this, the worst thing that might happen is that I don’t work for that client again. If I know that I can put my head on the pillow at night, and know that I did all I could do, then it’s ok. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”

I know that the word ‘fail’ will not be removed anytime soon. In the meantime, I challenge myself and you to think of it differently. I found some encouraging acronyms on the internet.

  1. First Attempt In Learning

  2. Forever Acquiring Important Lessons

  3. First Action In Learning

Which acronym would you choose? Do you have a different acronym? How do you challenge yourself so you take ‘failing’ as learning?



#change #anxiety

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