Week Twelve

I think we may need to de-emphasize failure as being a bad thing. Obviously it’s not ideal; we want to be able to do things and do them right, and failure is automatically associated with feelings of disappointment and frustration. But “fetishizing failure” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, p. 70) to this extent makes it seem like an insurmountable obstacle – as if failing on your first attempt means that you cannot do it and should stop trying. But failure is actually an unavoidable part of life. There are very few things in life that you can try and get perfect the first time.

People should take a more positive attitude towards failure. I’m not suggesting that we aspire to fail, just that we change our attitudes to our own failures by viewing them as learning experiences; we can look back at an experience, identify how and why it did not go as planned, and improve on those elements the next time. Failure is not the worst thing that could possibly happen; it is a necessary part of the learning process. We should not be shielding ourselves and other people from failure, but re-contextualizing failure as a catalyst for success.


Martinez, S.L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge.


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