Son… failure is wrong…

Tyler Donahue
3 min readMar 20, 2019

“Fail fast and fail often” — Phil Knight

Okay, I don’t have a son, and I don’t think failure is wrong.

Although, I think the current dialogue around failure could be reframed. Failure is not a good thing but it’s not a bad thing either. Approaching a task with the mentality that failing is a good thing can be dangerous. Failing is inevitable, but playing to lose is not the way to win.

Michael Hyatt talks about this in his book “Your Best Year Ever.” He says, when you have a plan B or C that you are content with, your subconscious prevents you from giving plan A your full attention.

I know this sucks, kinda like a relationship, the loss hurts worse if you are emotionally connected to the outcome. Yet, this is where the magic happens. Failing fast and often increases your emotional bounce back rate. The period of time between going balls to the wall on experiment A — failing, then proceeding to experiment B with the same emotional attachment.

Hint: Don’t treat relationships this way, people don’t respond as well as an enterprise in this regard.

It’s in our nature to feel like shit when we fail and for a good reason. When we didn’t catch that boar for our tribe back in the good old days we could cost the lives of several tribe members.

So how do I describe this to my son? (my future son)

Try your best to win the soccer game. If you loose the game, then you have another game to play right after. The rules of game number 2 are simple; figure out why your team lost game number 1 then come tell me

If you win the game — go celebrate with your team! But you don’t have another game to play.

The pressure to thrive is NOT wrong. What we deem as “thriving” is the backwards part.

To thrive is to experiment with 10,000 different things (all balls to the wall) and fail at all of them without being phased. The only way to do this is to approach all ten thousand scenarios with the belief you will win. Side note: If you are into this then you should read this poem.

Lots of great things happen when you experiment:

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Tyler Donahue

Writer @TheHustle @thriveglobal | Founder @th3kindproject @essentialblankets