I was recently confronted with a provoking statement from an esteemed Silicon Valley investor, who made a statement to the effect of "Failure is failure. Don't try to dress it up; don't sugar-coat it. Failure is not something you ought to be proud of."
A little heavy-handed in general context, but I tend to agree. Yet - I also disagree to an extent. Let's play with this thought some.
I think we can resolve that failure has a few core 'flavours' or attributes:
One: it is bitter and bland. It's brutally unsweetened, and a particularly unpalatable mass of 'protein', which is glaring at us to consume it. Maybe it's not dissimilar to those far-too-boiled peas or horrid brussels you grew up hating - you couldn't eat dessert or leave the table and play that video game unless you've eaten that stuff, and proved it with a "say arghh". But it made you 'grow up big and strong', right? All the 'best' things do.
Two: it's inevitable. It is a given; it is certain to happen - and I highly doubt there's a living being that doesn't agree or hasn't experienced it on some grand or minor scale. In fact the scale of failure is barely relevant, I feel. It's the principle of failure that should have our attention. Life, in the sense of... well... all of it, is essentially out of our individual control, and failure is part of that life. It's inevitably going to occur, just as the sky pours rain, and the wind does blow, despite and irrespective of our intention for the nature of those things. Failure happens. In fact it is rain that both 'damages' and provides sustenance, and its the power of wind that 'damages' and provides strength to a tree, and causes the transmission of seeds across the land. All essential occurances for maintaining the health and natural ecology of the Earth.
Three: failure has value. It is a growth mechanism. Lets elaborate. Failure is never in vain, and just 'because it needs to happen'. Think of a child learning to walk. The first stumbling, crumbling attempts are such beautiful snapshots of simple, raw life, and essential growth experiences, and all of those truly wonderful things. In comparison to the quality of steps that the child will need to be able to accomplish later, and the level they will need to be able to perform at as he or she grows, these first steps are a truly horrible example of a precedent. Really. Yet ironically we don't curse the falls and tumbles as a child learns to walk - so, why then do we curse failures later in life? Failure, in the case of a child learning to walk, holds a lot of value as it allows for the realisation of a baseline or starting point. You know, what not to do; where not to go; and life is all just that bit better because of it.
And four: failure is, well...an actual failure. It's good for you, but it is still failure. Let's be real about this. You've got to take it at its rawest state - the failure itself is nothing to be proud of, yet it doesn't just stop at that. It's the responses and byproducts of our failures that we can stand tall and grin next to. The reason we've got to see it in this way, is so that we can identify it's value and purpose towards change and growth. Something has to change. Failure is a cry for better, a call for growth - to increase strength, endurance and tenacity in one's life. How we respond and what we chose to do at that pivotal point, well that's our story. No-one can govern that process for you. That's all you baby.
Failure is bitter. Failure is inevitable, still it does hold emense value. And failure is indeed, straight up 'failure'. Choose to see it for what it is, and for the purpose it has towards your growth and change curves in life. I've failed big and I've failed small, and I fail everyday. Am I proud of these moments and memories? No way.
I've learnt, "One is not defined by one's failure, but by the response to failure and the byproduct that process creates."
Fail thee well.