“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
A famous quotation. What in the blasted barnacles does failing better mean? This sounds profound, but is it?
Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird that most of her writing students come to her classes not to learn how to write but how to get published. She doesn’t teach how to get published, and barely teaches how to write. What she does do is share her experience of struggle, perseverance, and failure. She is an engaging and successful writer, so reading about her fails is inspiring.
She perfected the better and best failing.
The stories we follow and the tales we tell are not really about failures. They are about overcoming first failed attempts. The more dramatic and the higher the stakes, the better the fail, er, I mean the ultimate success.
We really have no narrative of failure. Not the real kind. Not in literature and certainly not in the popular culture. True better failures are banned in storytelling. Even our narrative of history is the story of the victors.
Our failures are the stories of ultimate success. “If at first you don’t… try again.” We live on hope.
I know of no alternative. I intend to do better, not fail better, thank you.