Actually, Failure is an Option

Wait a minute...
Wait a minute…

The most common thing

I love what you guys are doing.”

This is a phrase I hear today about our work at The Youth Cartel. It’s a compliment. I say thank you. But I hear it so much– usually 3-4 times per day in one form or another — that I’m not even sure what it means anymore.

I just know it’s a whole lot better than,  “So, have you thought about looking for a job?” Yep, I heard that a couple times per week when I had another job. No one has said that to me in a long time. And for that I’m grateful.

The second most common thing

Gosh, you sure are doing a lot.” People who are a little closer see the real nuts and bolts stuff. A lot of travel. A lot of projects. A lot of events. Boxes in. Boxes out. And even a big chunk of stuff we don’t talk about publicly.

I’ve got a lot going. It’s intentional. I want a lot going. And, in many ways, I need a lot going.

I’m not alone

The fun thing about these phrases is that I don’t just hear them a lot, I actually say them a lot, too. People who are creating. People who are pushing boundaries. People who are challenging status quo… we tend to flock together.

I get to say those phrases to people whom I greatly admire whom are also doing stuff I love and who are also doing a lot.

But why?

But why do we, collectively, push so hard and others don’t? Why do we work so late and others watch 5 hours of TV? Why do we have so many things going?

Because failure is an option.

Some people live facing that reality while others don’t.

We know the status quo can win out. We know lethargy can overcome any great movement. We’ve see that doing what you know starts to feel pretty good when the bills are paid.

Failure is not an option

There’s a false notion out there that everything will work out in the end. That if you’re merely faithful to the mission that the mission will get accomplished. That showing up is akin to winning. 

Or if you stay positive that positive things will happen magically.

What a joke.

A crock.

A lie from the mouth of the devil himself.

Failure is an option.

The mission can fail.

The project can suck.

You might not get paid.

You might get fired.

People might bail.

Someone might steal your idea.

They might do your idea better than you do.

You might wake up in a nightmare. 

So why do we do this despite that?

Because we wake up realizing that failure is a legitimate option, we stare it in the face, and we say no.

Photo credit: The Fail Blog
Categorized as management

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

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