Failure can sometimes be even more liberating than any success!

In an increasingly narcissistic and self-promotional world, it is difficult to come across authentic stories of real failure. We’re all ever so ready to self-congratulate, humble brag and outright brag. Through social media, we have access to other’s perfectly curated lifestyles living it up and of course hashtag blessed. 

When I saw that Impact Hub Johannesburg was planning their next ‘Fuck up night’ I jumped from my chair, reached out for my diary and made a note of the date and time (this is a night where entrepreneurs share their stories of failures & fuck ups)

Dear diary, fuck up night on March 3rd at Maboneng Precinct. I’ll take any opportunity to spend time in Maboneng, double score…… smiley face, smiley face, smiley face. 

It is always refreshing to hear about other’s journeys. I’m always amazed at how even those who go through very similar experiences to mine, interpret and experience those realities very differently to my views. What’s even more inspiring is hearing stories of courage, resilience and beauty in the face of intense challenges. Especially when these are raw and truthful. It’s liberating to know and accept that there are certain things in life that will just never work out. Our own optimism and naivety erroneously teaches us to expect that things will ALWAYS work out, and this is why it can be so disheartening when you keep pushing and pushing & never get the outcome you expect. Failure teaches us resilience and doggedness but it also teaches us about the freedom of letting go, the power that can come from re-channelling, pivoting and refocusing. Failure reminds us that we are finite human beings. Sometimes we forget this and make infinite claims of virtue beyond our competence and reach. 

Failure reminds us of the things we have no control over. Hence our mandate is to do what we can, with what we have, where we are. Toni Morrison put it beautifully when she said (paraphrased): 

‘You may not have full control of your narrative, but you can nevertheless create it and choose its tone. No author has full control over the narrative or the characters, but as a natural born story teller, you have the right to reclaim your narrative and tell your story”

Now go forth and fail. Fail fast and fail forward.

Nkgopoleng MoloiComment