Failing Small


Reframing your day: “Instead of feeling that you lost the day after a bad morning, reframe the day into four quarters–morning, midday, afternoon, and evening. If you blow one quarter just get back on track for the next one. Fail small, not big.”

A Facebook friend shared a collection of advice recently and this was one I really loved. “Fail small, not big.” It resonated with me.

I’ve written before about the significance of failing well. It occurs to me that failing small is one way to fail well. You can admit failure without it being a failure of all the things. It rarely is. You had a fight with a friend? You didn’t fail as a friend. More likely you mucked up one interaction.

Likewise, with workouts. You had a bad run. It’s one bad run. Move on. I know the voice that says, why did you think you could do this? You’re not a runner. And all of of a sudden it’s not even just running. It’s everything in your life.

I think it’s important to take risks and to not be afraid of failure. “Failing small” strikes me as one way of letting failure in but keeping it in its place. Racing the Snipe (a small 2 person sailing dinghy) this weekend, Sarah and I had a couple of really bad mark roundings. One in particular stands out in my mind because it was my fault. But we were able to keep on racing and keep our spirits up by admitting our mistakes but not making them into a giant catastrophe. It was just a bad mark rounding. We can practice mark roundings. There’s room to get better.

October 13th is the International Day of Failure. It’s fast approaching. What’s your approach to failure?

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