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Failing to learn

In The Dark Knight Rises, when Bruce Wayne continues to fail to climb out of the pit, he is advised to make an attempt without the rope. With the rope, the fear of falling to his death was largely reduced. But without, there was no option of falling. It was either successfully climb out of the pit or fall to his death.

There are many scenes and quotes in popular lore that bring out the importance of the fear of death. All make the point that fearing death is more powerful than being incredibly brave to the extent of not fearing death. As the instinct of avoiding death kicks in and pushes us to do things that we would otherwise not do.

Hardly any of us finds ourselves in a situation where we can utilize our fear of death for pushing ourselves to do better.

But, a situation we do find ourselves in a lot more often is when we are faced with failure.

We are in an era where failure is celebrated and worn as a badge and celebrated. This comes from the thinking that we do not learn to walk if we do not fall and that we will be too afraid to even try to walk if we are afraid of walking.

In that sense, failure is a good thing as it leads us to try more, try different and eventually get better and succeed. But, this works only because wanting to avoid the disappointment of failure is what makes us put in that extra effort to notice the mistakes, learn from them and overcome them in subsequent attempts.

By glorifying and celebrating failure, we are now running the risk of removing the key ingredient of failure that helps us get better. What pushes us to do better is not failure itself, but the disappointment that comes with it and the desire to not experience that feeling again.

I have been in many scenarios where I've been jaded enough from the failures to not feel any disappointment and have subsequently learnt to live with those failures rather than learn from and improve upon them.

A failure without the disappointment is nothing to be celebrated about. A failure without the disappointment leads only to getting used to the failure and living with it.

The aspect of celebrating failure only comes after the disappointment. It is a way to pull ourselves out of that disappointment and channel that emotion in a productive way to learn what went wrong and how we can get better at it.

By skipping the disappointment, we are skipping what comes after it as well. Which will result in a failure being simply that, a failure.

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