The Freedom To Fail

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Here is an essay I recently wrote for the New Threats To Freedom Foundation in response to Michael Goodwin's video on the Freedom to Fail. Enjoy!

Our goal today is to entirely eradicate failure.  We somehow have the idea that if our children fail, they will  be bruised for life, unable to cope with the realities of society and unable to make a successful living.  But is this really the right response?  Is the key to success the eradication of failure?

Michael Goodwin was completely correct in his statement that they key to success was the freedom to fail.  While certainly no one likes failure, how can we obtain or enjoy success if we do not know what failure is?  Victory can only be sweet when we know what bitter defeat tastes like.

Piet Hein wisely stated:
 "The road to wisdom?  Well, it's plain and simple to express:  err, and err, and err again.  but less, and less, and less."

Our Founding Fathers understood this important principle when they wrote our Constitution.  They knew that one of the most important freedoms we could ever have is the freedom to fail and they also knew that we would never become a great nation unless we learn from our mistakes.

Perhaps the greatest rising threat recently, has been our school systems.  Parents and teachers have taken the mentality that no child should be allowed to fail.  Instead of allowing the child to make and learn from their own mistakes, they try to bring everything to such an easy level that no child could possibly struggle - somehow believing that if the child is shielded from failure, he will be a great success.

But, with this dumbing down of tests and the dispensing of good grades, regardless of merit we have now raised a generation of children who do not value hard work or an education.  They have become dependent upon society to supply their needs while they have become lazy and idle.  Instead of adding value to society, these people have become a burden.  Yet, despite the evident outcome, we continue to work to rid ourselves of failure.  

Instead of shielding children from failure, we're, instead, preparing them to be failures in life, a burden to society, and a dull, senseless generation without initiative.  These people could have no hope to succeed in the workforce and are inadequately prepared to face the hardships of life.

Charles F. Kettering stated it best, however, with this remark:
 "Virtually nothing comes out right the first time.  Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.  The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try something... One fails forward toward success."

There is no possible way to succeed without learning from past mistakes.  Failure defines ourselves of it without ridding ourselves of success, as well.

"Sometimes a noble failure serves the world as faithfully as the distinguished success."  Edward Dowden

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