This past week during Crush fear of failure week I have blogged about Ted talks that were about embracing the failure or near-wins and treating them as gifts, as powerful motivators to achieve even more than first thought possible. I blogged about failure being used in the pursuit of mastery and how success was fleeting. For day 40 I wanted to share a Ted talk I watched about how there is really no guidance out there teaching us how to fail.
The spectacularly failed summer
This is the first time I am featuring a Ted talk from Tedx Teen and a talk with two speaks Tara Suri and Niha Jain. Tara and Niha’s talk “Learning to fail” was inspired by by their teens “spectacularly failed summer”
Tara, Niha and another student Maddie Smith had gone to a small community in India to make a change. 85% of the woman in that community had been forced into prostitution and the trio wanted to break the cycle. They set out to empower the woman by helping to provide an alternative sustainable income generator – making tank tops.
The teens spent several years researching the local market, visiting the community and seeking outside guidance from other non-profits. They had a fashion designer onboard in Boston and vocational classes set up for the women in the town to teach them vocational skills and embroidery. They thought they had ticked all the boxes.
When they arrived to the community they learnt that the non-profit group they had partnered with to distribute their funding to pay for the vocational classes and doctor visits had not happened. They had no idea where their $20000 in funding had gone. The entire project had been a complete failure.
No one wants to talk about failure
“No one wants to talk about failure” says Tara. In preparation for their Tedx Teen talk, Tara and Niha tried to look for inspiration in other failures, but they found that couldn’t find any books on failure, not at their local book stores and not at their college library. They found plenty of websites such as EpicFail that were only too happy to share other peoples failure but no websites or resources that were really willing to share and be transparent about their own failures.
Success are celebrated. Failures are shamed
Successes are celebrated but failures are not. I have to ask, why not? If these past few weeks of Ted talks have taught me anything is that well, pretty much all Ted speaker are failures. Everybody who has achieved great levels of success has failed at one point in their lives – why aren’t we open to discussing this?
We need to talk about failure. We need to bring it out in the open and be transparent and teach our kids and each other that failure isn’t the end, and in many cases it really is just a new beginning. Perhaps it wasn’t a planned beginning, perhaps it is a different pathway but it’s doesn’t mean it will be of any less value.
Embrace failure and be the game changer
“By not talking about failure we are limiting ourselves. If we want to be game changers we need to learn to fail loudly and proudly.” says Tara. Change, innovation, creativity all these things are born from failure. We cannot move forward from our failures unless we bring them out in the open and not hide them with our heads hung low. I guess that’s what we need to ask ourselves , do we want to approach our lives with our head hung low or do we want to be game changers? It all depends on what meaning you choose to attach to failure.