William Broderick, the head of Fort Worth Academy, recently posted a great piece on failure that we wanted to share for today’s #FailureFriday.

While the belief “failure is not an option” is absolutely appropriate in some situations (think Apollo 13), Broderick says there is no place for that mindset in schools. Instead of honing focus, in young people it often produces anxiety-ridden, counterproductive, even devastating results.

“Failure is not an option” can generate fear of imminent embarrassment, humiliation, or worse – chastisement.  Fear of failure can manifest itself in debilitating concern before taking a test, competing in a sport, performing in a recital, suggesting a new and better way, or even asking for a date.  This fear can cause young people to give less than their best effort, recoil from productive and healthy risk-taking, and ultimately never reach their full potential.  It actually causes some to refuse to simply try.

Of course, failure is an option!  It is an inevitable, even essential part of life!  Failure can become the motivation to overcome obstacles and the next step prior to a brilliant discovery; it shows children what they did wrong so they can do better next time. Failure connects actions with consequences, giving learners ownership of and pride in their efforts.

Broderick goes on to state that failures are the only way to set young adults up to win for the future as experiencing and recovering from failure teaches “perseverance, determination, patience, commitment and creativity…….and ultimately accomplishment.”

Do you agree that the anxieties that come along with fearing failure are much worse than simply trying something and not succeeding?


  • Kelsey

    I agree 100%. After being stuck in anxiety, fear of failure, and trouble with uncertainty for over a year, I finally took small steps towards my goal, paying not attention to the doubt-filled voices. Once you get over the initial fear, you realize that a.) failure is much less painful than you anticipated b.) most of your fears do not materialize and c.) you gain momentum and confidence with action.

    This hit home today, as my old friend fear came up. Thanks for helping me face it again!


  • Live in the Grey

    Thank you for sharing what happens when you do overcome fear. You’re absolutely right about how it helps you gain momentum!

    Glad you’re liking #FailureFriday!

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