Why I Aim To Fail, In GIFs

Failure happens.  You can't have success in anything without experiencing some failure - we know and understand this.  But TRYING to fail?  What is up with that?  Why are you so weird? If you have directed these questions in my general direction, this post is for you.  

In 2018, my third year of attempting to fail big 12 times, I plan to be more transparent (or more annoying depending on your perspective) about sharing my goals and progress.  More on that next week.  Today, four reasons I aim to fail: 


For all of the things I want to try - this mind trick takes failure out of the equation for me. When success is success, but failure is also success, the only way to lose is to do nothing.  

Aiming for failure takes me out of the thought loop of "I want to do this . . . it probably won't work . . . maybe I shouldn't . . .I won't . . . but I want to try it . . . it probably won't work . . . maybe I shouldn't . . ." 

At the "It probably won't work" part of the thought loop, I now say "Oh good, it can count as one of my failures." And just like that, I'm out of the thought loop and planning out how to do the thing.


Teddy Roosevelt said some words once - words I loved so much I wrote them in the back of my bible before heading to basic training and later had T-shirts made with those same words shaped into a cross.  There is a line - referring to the man who dares greatly - it says even if he fails, he "at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be among those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat."

Something in me shivers at those words and at the thought I could end up as one of those "cold and timid souls."  No sir.  No thank you.  Not I.  

The cold and timid soul is the man who buried his talent, it is Sampson revealing the source of his strength, it is Barak refusing to go to war without Deborah - it is the soul who feared to fail, gave into the fear, and failed because of it (Matthew 25: 14-30, Judges 16, Judges 4).   I aim for failure because I am determined to stare it in the face unafraid. 


When your aim is success, there is a tendency to set your target somewhere reasonable - somewhere you're likely to hit with the right amount of effort.  Michaelangelo laid out the problem with this line of thinking perfectly, so I'll just let him be on with it:

The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.
— Michaelangelo

This year, I created a color book (link is to the finished book :) ) and ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to print 500 copies. If you compare the results to my goal, the whole thing was an epic FAIL. Goal not reached. Aimed high, fell short. Failure in the books.  

Instead of an easily reachable goal , I set a crazy audacious goal, did everything I could to reach it, celebrated the failure when I fell short, and basked in the awesomeness of what I accomplished/learned/created in the aiming and in the failing.  

If failure is a side goal, it is easy to aim high.

4. YOU

I want to normalize trying weird things, aiming high, and failing big for you - whoever you are reading this.  You have stuff to share with the world - to make it better, make it brighter, make it more beautiful - and I hate to think you would let anything stop you from sharing it.