Failure is Awful and It’s Good for You

You know how social media does that “time hop” thing where it reminds you what you were doing on the same date at some point in the past? The older I get, the more I have two thoughts every time that happens: 

  1. That couldn’t have been that many years ago, and


  2. Did I really look that young back then?

This happened to me last week when Facebook reminded me that it had been nine years since the theatrical release of a movie I produced and starred in called A Strange Brand of Happy

My thoughts quickly turned, not to the movie’s release, but to the Ted Talk I gave several months later on the topic of failure. Like so many other big projects and initiatives in my life, that movie wasn’t what you might call an obvious “slam dunk” success. It wasn’t a total failure, but when you create something and give it to the world and it falls short, you often feel like a failure. 

I’ve had that feeling a few more times in my life than I’d prefer. Heck, I’ve had that feeling a few more times since this Ted talk! (Maybe a few times this month…you get the idea.) 

Failure, both real and perceived, is painful. It’s awful, and we all try to avoid it. But failure is a teacher unlike anything else. The lessons taught us by our failures shape us more than any book or class or professor ever could. 

It’s ultimately how we deeply learn and process our most essential truths. 

Here’s a link to that TedxCincinnati talk called “Failure as the Key to Success.” It’s from way back in the dark ages, before the invention of HD cameras and appropriate stage lighting. 

I don’t think I failed to get my point across. Though failing at my failure talk would be a pretty great story to tell.


Joe Boyd

Leadercast CEO Joe Boyd is a storyteller and entrepreneur. Before Leadercast, Joe led Boonrise, a highly successful creative agency and production company. He is passionate about leadership development and speaks about improvisational leadership, story-driven living, and embracing failure.

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