Posts Tagged ‘concept of yet’

Fail Faster, Succeed Sooner, Part II The Concept of Yet

Fail Faster, Succeed Sooner, Part II

The Concept of Yet

Failure as a Process

As we discussed in part I, failure is simply a milestone, a goal post, a sign that we are in the hunt, in hot pursuit, hot-on-the trail—insert your favorite cliché here. Failure simply means we have not succeeded yet. It is this simple unassuming three letter word—yet— that unlocks the secret of failure and the focus of our discussion.

Y-E-T. What is it exactly about this tiny little word that no one ever let on to its powerful secret? With all of my education, up to and including my doctorate—failure was never part of my academic techniques or repertoire.

We can play semantic games all day long. Call this concept of not succeeding whatever you must to avoid saying that awful word, FAILURE. Yep—I said it again. Seriously, what is the point? Shakespeare had it right “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Failure is simply a tool, a technique, a learning mechanism, an opportunity for us to endure as we proceed through the process of learning. Learning is an opportunity to fail—repeatedly—until we understand, until we get it. Anything is easy once you know how. You however have to learn how first, right?

As a child, we did not learn to walk the first try. Instead, we stumbled, we fell—we may even have cracked the ole noggin (head) once or twice. Seldom is there a genius who walks the very first time—perfectly.

How do you learn this how conceptually? We learn by making mistakes, by trial and error, by failing. F-A-I-L-I-N-G. Oops— there I go, I’ve said it again. What is it exactly about failure that literally (and figuratively) sends people spiraling out of control? I know some (Translation: ME) who could not even form the letters to form the word—F-A-I-L—as if this word had been censored from my own personal dictionary as Evil its very self. What could I possibly have to fear from a simple four letter word?

Failure Makes Us Vulnerable

When we fail, we have to be willing to be held accountable for our failures. By being accountable, we have to admit, out loud to the rest of the world that, yep, we failed. Really? Will someone come and take away our birthday? Is there such a thing as the failure police? What is the worst that could possibly happen?

The Concept of Yet

What if we simply stated this concept differently, as we simply did not accomplish what we set out to do yet. So what? Ain’t no big thing, right? For some, admitting failure quite frankly is a deal breaker as if our entire existence hangs in the balance. See that pesky little word is back. YET. Say it with me loudly. Y-E-T. YET! So what’s the problem?

Let me first acknowledge that my writing is an attempt to poke fun at myself for the years of my having an issue with failure. It is not meant to poke fun at you (ok—not you specifically) but simply the concept of the abnormal response that some of us have about our “friend” failure (ok—maybe not friend quite yet). While my writing, may come off as poking fun, my goal is meant to offer guidance and instruction and—dare I say—another way to live.

Failure Debilitates

I know how debilitating this concept of failure is. Trust me—ask my parents how failure nearly ruined my college career (again—an anecdote for another day). Suffice it to say I am still here, and I managed to earn a doctorate. How much of a failure did I remain? I have been there. I have shed the same tears, expressed the same ‘other four letter words’ and was virtually paralyzed at the very thought of failure. I get it—more than you know.

However, failure did not stop me. Please back up and reread that last phrase—yet another secret to failure. FAILURE DID NOT STOP ME. Perhaps failure may have slowed me down some here and there. Ok—to be honest there were times in my life where the train did come to a complete and total stop and my tray table may not have been in an upright position—however, not for long. I came, I saw, I conquered, AND I moved on.

That is why I believe I can offer a different perspective—from the other side. My point of view is from one who has conquered her fear(s)—and won (well, at least most of the time.)

Just One Thing

This little word—yet—holds another clue to our success. If there were one—and only one—secret to life—are you ready?— this is it. Take a deep breath, ok? Failure has quite simply failed to help us if we do not move failure into the success column—at least on occasion. When we fail—at whatever ‘it’ is—and leave this failure without having taken anything from it, we refuse its gifts. We give up on failure’s ability to teach us, and then yep—we fail permanently. F-A-I-L-U-R-E. Say it again with me—come on now—I’m listening. I promise I’m right here.

Then we make things worse when we internalize failure further still. We let failure beat us, define us, discourage us, and eliminate us from our pursuits. We have allowed failure to vote ourselves off the island. Then, yep—failure has done its job. Game over—exit stage left.

Relationship With Failure

However, when we offer failure an option, an identity, and a function—then we begin to have a real conversation. (And yes, if you are asking, I do talk with failure. We have become great friends now. *Smiles*). What if instead, we could learn that failure is simply a word, a double four letter word that simply is? What might that look like? I invite you to dig deeper regarding your relationship with failure to see what lessons may be in store for you.

With respect,


Dr. Cheryl Lentz

Chief Refractive Thinker®

Award winning author and publisher
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October 19th, 2012 by admin