Fail Better

“Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better.”  These words were written by Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright and Nobel Prize winner, known for theatre of the absurd and “Waiting for Godot.”

Some might think this concept is equivalent to getting an F+ on an assignment.  But even an F+ indicates some movement forward.  Progress takes time, sometimes a lot of time to notice any change.  F+ begins with awareness that improvement is needed.  When we know that improvement is needed in any area of our lives, we are ready to begin the journey out of a rut.

For some, the rut has become noticeable to others, sometimes to the point of criticism.  What we do with that determines if we have the courage to look at what may be going on and contemplate change.  Alcohol or drug dependence is a good example of the importance of learning to see failing better as any progress at all.   The decision not to drive under the influence can be that first step in harm reduction—a long way off yet from the ideal of sobriety, but a major improvement.  No one may be there to congratulate us on failing better, but it is a sign that something positive has begun, and we can build on that.

Success is about falling down six times and standing up seven.  It is also about encouraging others in our lives to keep standing up, no matter how many times we have seen them fall down.  Christmas is a good time to do this.  It is the season of hope.  Many feel especially vulnerable at this time of year when their lives may seem so far from ideal. Sometimes we need each other to carry our hope until we can carry it for ourselves.