Failure – Personal Development Flavour of the Month.


Flavour of the month

Flavour of the month

Three years ago when I started writing about the values and strengths that are required to lead productive and successful lives, the importance of goals was the most well covered topic.

There were a clutch of new books on the subject. It was a favourite with many bloggers and article writers.

It was followed by purpose and mission, sometimes individually, at others as two parts of a whole.

Now, failure seems to be a popular topic, sometimes combined with overcoming adversity or conquering obstacles, often on its own. The treatment of failure in the media takes several forms.

Some writers focus on the role failure plays as a necessary step on the path to success. Others focus on the fear of failure. The power of that fear in holding us back, stopping us getting started. Failing fast and often is another angle covered by many writers.

One question in my mind is whether writers and the media – blogs, podcasts, webinars, seminars, conferences direct life or mirror it. I suspect both.

Good books on most of these topics have been available for generations, some on for example, overcoming adversity, for two thousand years since Greek and Roman times.

Technology has given everyone with basic literacy and access to the Internet the opportunity to be publishers, to broadcast our messages, good or bad, globally and instantly. Every one who continues to create content after their first wave of enthusiasm has died needs new things to write about or new angles on old ideas.

Some articles go viral, get massive traction and attract the attention of many other writers and authors, more content on the topic is created, more buzz generated in social media, new books are published. Some are reasonable, a few good, many mediocre or worse, but all add to the chatter. All the activity helps some people get results which they write, talk, tweet and update about.

Then there is little new that can be said or written on that topic, a new one is needed. Much like the product life cycle of a hit movie, a popular new car model or a flavour of chewing gum.

Here is a link to a good book on overcoming adversity and bouncing back from failure, one of the best I have read in a long time. I have just read it for the second time, carefully and slowly, making notes and highlighting sections. It is an affiliate link.

Back to failure and how it helps us.

Yes failure is an important step on the road to success, through my own, the experience of others and a life long interest in the subject, I am convinced that we often learn more from failure than success. Not just what we need to change to succeed in any particular venture, but the lessons we learn about ourselves and life when we fail. Important lessons. Life changing lessons.

My concern with some of the current writing is the treatment of failure as an objective on its own, not as part of life and part of success.

We should view failure as an obstacle to overcome while striving to achieve success.

Not as a step on the way to another failure. That might and often does happen, if it does, we need to bounce back from it, pick ourselves up and get back on the path to success, not strive for another failure.

Failure should be an incentive to do better and eventually succeed, not an excuse for accepting an endless series of failures. Continually trying, never accomplishing.

As with everything in life and more so with the flood of information we get on-line, we need to use discernment. Ask questions. Think.Test assumptions.

What will be the next flavour of the month or year?

What’s your guess? Leave a comment.


Image courtesy of nuttakit /

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  3 comments for “Failure – Personal Development Flavour of the Month.

  1. Hadass Eviatar
    March 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, Peter! Just the tiniest hint of cynicism there … ;-). My guess for the next flavour of the month? Collaboration, networking, the joys of working together …. you read it here first! 😉

    • March 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      You are right with that Hadass, in fact it is probably already becoming so.

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