Archive for Failure

Fail Better

Today would have been Samuel Beckett’s 105th birthday. I won’t pretend that I’m super erudite and knew that when I woke up — a publisher I follow on Twitter posted this quote, which resonated with me, considering yesterday’s blog entry:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett
It’s something I have to remind myself often. When I say it, though, it sounds trite. That’s why I let Mr. Beckett have a word.
In my house, we’ve been experiencing failures here and there. My daughter will be leaving the college she thought she would love to attend her second choice. This, in itself, isn’t a failure. The new school is actually more selective, and she’s fortunate to be accepted twice now. The failure is in the three of us (my daughter, my husband, and me) being so very certain that she would love and thrive at the first school. We were absolutely certain the school was made for her. We found out early into the school year that it wasn’t what we thought. So, we faced the fact that she wasn’t happy and looked toward other opportunities.
And that’s what failing better is all about. We learned a lot in the past year. She’s still very uncertain about this switch in schools–she’s a champion equivocator, my daughter–but she learned so much about herself that even if she’s not happy at the new school, she says that’s when she’ll know it’s her and not the school, in which case she’ll start working on herself.
My son, who has played baseball since he was three years old, was cut from the varsity baseball team after an extended tryout. He was heartbroken, but immediately presented his contingency plan. He swims varsity and wanted to swim year round, so he joined the local swim club and is now swimming at least three nights a week. The baseball cut still stings — for all of us, because, although we realized how many really good players were trying out, we thought there might be a chance. We were disappointed to find out that one of his good friends took his position at first base, and I think that’s what hurts the most. This failure forced some humility for all of us, and I believe this experience is shaping my son to be a better man.
So now I think it’s my turn to jump into potential failure and just try something new. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll have to try again, and fail better.