Mindfulness Day today. And failure is something to be plenty mindful of…in a good way. As Leticia Gasca compellingly articulates in her TED Salon talk “Don’t Fail Fast – Fail Mindfully” (thanks Mom):
- “I realized that sharing your failures makes you stronger, not weaker. And being open to my vulnerability helped me connect with others in a deeper and more meaningful way and embrace life lessons I wouldn’t have learned previously. As a consequence of this experience of sharing stories of businesses that didn’t work, we decided to create a platform of events to help others share their failure stories. And we called it Fuckup Nights.”
- ·”On the night we invented Fuckup Nights, we never imagined that the movement would grow this big. We are in 80 countries now. In that moment, our only intention was to put the topic of failure on the table. To help our friends see that failure is something we must talk about. It is not a cause of humiliation, as it used to be in the past, or a cause of celebration, as some people say. In fact, I want to confess something. Every time I listen to Silicon Valley types or students bragging about failing fast and often like it’s no big deal, I cringe. Because I think that there is a dark side on the mantra ‘fail fast.’ Of course, failing fast is a great way to accelerate learning and avoid wasting time. But I fear that when we present rapid failure to entrepreneurs as their one and only option, we might be promoting laziness. We might be promoting that entrepreneurs give up too easily. I also fear that the culture of rapid failure could be minimizing the devastating consequences of the failure of a business. For instance, when my social enterprise died, the worst part was that I had to go back to the indigenous community and tell the women that the business had failed and it was my fault. For some people this could be seen like a great learning opportunity for me, but the truth is that the closure of this business represented much more than that. It meant that the women would stop receiving an income that they really needed.”
Mindfulness is about connecting with the present embracing the sensations, feelings and thoughts of the moment. As failure is a integral part of everyday life, a mindful ethos means embracing the sensations, feelings and thoughts that accompany those failures. Gasca tells us that embracing failure isn’t about shrugging it off and getting past it as “fast” a possible, but instead to fully appreciate its pain as well as its silver linings.