Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

How To Avoid Failing by Default

J..K Rowling said one of my favorite things about failure.

It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

I despise failure. That's the truth. There was a day when I would berate myself terribly for failing at things I wasn't very good at. Mostly sports. I'm not good at most sports. Never have been. Yet, I would have internal (occasionally external) temper tantrums for failing to do well.

After which I would quit, berating myself as a failure.

My mindset was fixed. You're either good at sports or you're not. I wasn't born with discipline. I can't write. I don't know how to create. I could never learn to make tables. There is no way I could learn to code. I can't get better.

What I should have done - if I truly desired to be better at sports - is deliberate practice. Fail again. Adjust. Fail again. Tweak it some more. Fail again - but incrementally improve.

Instead, I quit.


While it is true, we are each hardwired with a natural bent toward certain things, we limit ourselves by thinking it's impossible to learn. Mindset is the key.

Fail fast. Think critically about what should change. Learn, adjust, and move on. Failure is the path to learning, and learning is the only way we improve at anything. And everything. So go ahead. Give it a try.

Because the worst thing we can do is fail by default.