What Does it Really Mean to Fail? 8 Self-Coaching Lessons (and a True Story) on Failure

Interview by
Dr. Chad Prevost
Dr. Shelley Prevost
Published on

In this episode

We've got a few questions on the subject of failure. Do you really learn from failure? What does it mean to actually fail at something? How big or how small does the failure have to be? Do you really learn more when you have a losing season instead of a winning one? Where did the “fail fast” mentality come from, and does it mean the same thing today?

Everyone’s paths are different, but many of us start out with early indications about what we should be for the rest of our lives. We begin to believe that the only way for the arch of lives to be considered a success is to make sure those first mountain life decisions turn out to be the fulfillment of those early dreams.

What happens when those plans don’t turn out the way you thought they would? What does it mean to fail at something that seems so big?

The truth is everyone fails. Everyone experiences setbacks both personal and professional. It IS of course what you do with the failure. But the truth is also that failure is a lot more complicated than the “fail fast” mantra would have you believe.

First of all, failure sucks. Failure is messy. Of the four noble truths of Buddhism, the first is that life IS suffering. And the second noble truth? That the avoidance of suffering causes more suffering. We avoid failure in the same way we avoid suffering.

So what happens when you identify, accept, and even embrace failure? And what are the failure(s) you truly do want to avoid?

We figure it all out on Chad's big failure story on this week's first edition of Season 4 of the Big Self Podcast!

Show Notes:

The Second Mountain by David Brooks

Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis

My Losing Season by Patrick Conroy

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Noah Baumbach

Live Your Truth by Kamal Ravikant

Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously by Osho

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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Our Discussion

3:19--How David Brooks' The Second Mountain has a lot do with what we're talking about

6:33--The second mountain is when you you shed the ego enough to break open

8:32--What does it actually mean to fail at something because none of us want to fail?

11:37--Even about the age of 10, I was always interested in being a writer

13:30--Your first mountain. So you just turned 50 crossed the threshold.

19:39--What do you now see that you've learned from the failure?

20:25--Congratulations on the failure

24:51--Failure Lesson #1

27:16--Failure Lesson #2

31:05--Failure Lesson #3

31:56--Failure Lesson #4

35:57--Failure Lesson #5

38:47--Failure Lesson #6

41:27--Failure Lesson #7

43:30--Failure Lesson #8

Guest Speakers

Chad and Shelley