Success and the need for failure

A Tribute To Failure


January 08, 201411:25 AM
November 1924: A car loses a wheel at high speed on the Culver City Speedway, Los Angeles, California.

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

In a society where success is pursued and celebrated above everything else, where media stars, sport champions and the very rich are idolized, failure is seen as an embarrassment, something we must avoid at all costs and, when we can’t, must be hidden from everyone else.

Maybe it shouldn’t be this way. Last month, I read an essay in The New York Times about failure by Costica Bradatan, an associate professor of comparative religion and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. Duly inspired by Bradatan’s words, I decided to compose my own tribute to failure.

We fail when we attempt something. This is enough to show the value of failure, as it equates with effort. To not try to do something so as to avoid failure is much worse, as it represents inertia or, worse, the paralyzing fear of failure. In the sciences and the arts, if you don’t fail you are not creating. Every poet, every painter, every scientist collects a much larger number of failures than successes. Unconvincing lines, unsatisfactory brushwork, wrong hypotheses. Without failure we can’t move forward.

Success is failure’s progeny.

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About Brian Fulmer

Brian is the owner of Crossroads Property Management Inc. ( He writes six blogs and has written two books. He also works with various missions around the world. His first love is Guatemala.
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