SAFE International Melbourne - Fail, Failed, and Failure

Here is a blog written by SAFE International Melbourne Certified Partner Steven O'Connor on what it means to "Fail"


According to the Dictionary, Fail means;

1] To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately:

Failed to fulfil their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the Summit.

2] To be unsuccessful, an experiment that failed.

3] To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.

And the list goes on.

All of these definitions were set by a person who put a standard to their idea of what is acceptable and what’s not. So why is it called a ‘fail’ just because you didn’t meet their expectations or goals. I take issue with these words. Just because you are not at a level of what someone else expects, does not mean you have FAILED. You may not have got to the level they have set but that only means you didn’t “Pass” their standard.

If you break it down, all it means is now you can learn from previous mistakes and ask yourself,

1] What could I have done better?

2] What do you need to do to achieve a better result?

3] Where do you think you went wrong in your learning process?

4] Did you honestly do your best?

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered in order to move forward in a positive manner. So for “me” to tell someone they have failed “is wrong”. Because maybe they tried their best at whatever it was and now they need to re-assess how they can improve next time.

People themselves will say they have failed: No you didn't. You just didn’t do as well as you hoped. So learn from that experience and you will get better each time. The word “FAIL “ itself can be harmful to a person’s state of mind if they are not confident within themselves which in turn can send them into a depressive state. Using words such as “you didn’t pass this time but I know you will do better next time” gives a positive message to a fragile mind.

FAIL, FAILED and FAILURE are such negative words and can cause more damage than good. We need to keep focused on moving forward not going stagnant from negativity. So next time you don’t do as well as you would have hoped, don’t say or be told you failed, but rather, look at what you did, analyze it, and learn from your mistakes so you can move in a positive direction.

There is no such thing as personal failure, only mistakes you can improve on next time.

People naturally go into a negative state of mind when they think they have failed something. This state of mind can cause a person to fall into a form of depression. It was said that low levels of Serotonin in the brain causes depression. Serotonin is the chemical in the brain responsible for sending signals to the nerve cells which make us feel happy. While there are some forms of depression that have a chemical imbalance, there are many more caused by other factors including hormone changes, nutritional problems, weight gain emotional stresses and immune system impairments. The word “Fail”, in my opinion, can contribute to an increase in these symptoms because it can be perceived as a negative word.

If you don’t do well at something you need to be encouraged to do better next time, not told you failed. Setting goals can be both good and bad. If you achieve that goal you have an overwhelming feeling of happiness, but if you don’t and you tell yourself you failed to achieve your goal, then you feel unhappy with yourself and this can lead to that depressive state. It is a lot harder to get out of a depressive state than it is to fall into one, so we need to re-think how we can stay positive. The word may not be intended to cause harm to someone’s wellbeing but it can, and sometimes leads to people causing self- harm, even taking their own life because they think they are not good enough.

Having a good thought process is important:

Having a good thought process is important in moving forward. Process everything you do as a learning tool as this will improve yourself and your well being.


1] Surround yourself with positive motivated people

2] Look at what you need to do to improve yourself

3] Use words that are positive e.g. substitute “FAILS” with “IMPROVE” Instead of saying “I failed” say “I will improve next time”.

These are steps we can all take to improve our lives and feel happier about whom we are, rather than feeling down and unhappy with life.
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Saturday, 24 August 2019
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