#WOTY2024 Over 50s Lifestyle

Freedom to Fail – Why failing can be a good thing

January 15, 2024

Failing is something we don’t like to do, I know I don’t, but this week a few examples have presented themselves and I wanted to share with you why it’s okay to fail.

My WOTY is Freedom and although I was second guessing my choice, over the last couple of weeks, the idea of Freedom and how it slots into my personal growth and well-being is becoming clearer. I’ve decided to write specific posts around Freedom at least monthly as I learn more about the word and also how it is guiding me in 2024.

Freedom to Fail – Why failing can be a good thing

I mentioned that freedom and failing had been on my mind and I wanted to explore. The first thing to set me thinking about the connection, was a blog post A Massive Fail and a Win #WOYP written by my good friend Debbie from Deb’s World for the What’s On Your Plate Link Up. Please take a moment to click on the link read about the fail as I’m sure you will all be nodding when you do.

I was having a conversation with Deb during the week, catching up since the Christmas break, talking about life and of course blogging. The subject of failing came up and she mentioned that she had received so many responses to her post congratulating her on showing the failure rather than only posting the ‘perfect’ things. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect or not let others see our failures, where others are more forgiving of us and applaud our attempts because they know what it is like because the fail sometimes too. As an aside, Deb came up with the title ‘Freedom to Fail’ for me, so thanks Deb!

It’s about letting go of the ideal that we need to achieve Perfection to be happy and accepting the reality that we are human and mistakes, errors of judgement, failure will happen.

Taking Imperfect Action – What does it mean?

I started the year taking an Italian Language bootcamp course. My husband was born in Italy and moved to Australia when he was 4 years old – 72 years ago. He still speaks Italian and I can understand and read it, but I don’t have the confidence to speak in conversation.

The language course was just a ‘starter’ which was great for me to refresh my memory and start speaking again. One thing that the teacher talked about was ‘taking Imperfect Action’. This means don’t wait until you can speak fluently thinking that everything has to be perfect.

This applies to anything you want to try. When I pressed the button on my first Women Living Well After 50 Podcast Episode, I had no previous experience in podcasting, I was concerned no one would listen, I was self-conscious and I didn’t have expensive equipment. I closed my eyes and pressed the Go LIVE button and the results were positive and encouraging. I would have missed this opportunity to explore a new path in my life, if I had dithered and waited until everything was perfect.

Just start! Accept you will make mistakes and move forward.

The freedom to make mistakes and move on

Why accepting the freedom to fail is good for our mental health

Failure can be beneficial for our mental health for several reasons:

  1. Resilience: Experiencing failure can help us build resilience, as it teaches us how to adapt and bounce back in the face of adversity.
  2. Growth: Failure provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. It allows us to learn from our mistakes, gain new perspectives, and develop valuable skills.
  3. Humility: Embracing failure fosters humility and a realistic self-perception. It reminds us that we are not infallible and encourages a more balanced self-view.
  4. Reduced Fear: Overcoming the fear of failure can liberate us from the anxiety of making mistakes, leading to increased confidence and a greater willingness to take on new challenges.
  5. Empathy: Witnessing others’ failures can cultivate empathy and understanding, as it encourages us to support and relate to others going through similar experiences.

Ultimately, embracing failure as a natural part of life can contribute to a healthier mindset, greater emotional resilience, and a more positive approach to personal and professional development.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.

Mahatma Gandhi

Are you limiting yourself and not trying things because you fear failure? What’s the worst that can happen? You might just surprise yourself.

View Failing as your

First
Attempt
At
Learning

Sue Loncaric

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way

22 Comments

  • Reply leannelc January 15, 2024 at 10:40

    Hi Sue – I have a definite fear of failure. I hate it when I don’t do things as well as I would like to, and I know it holds me back at times from trying something new. I’m kinder to myself now than I used to be, but still want to be good at what I do (every time!) I think your podcasts are the perfect example of being prepared to fail and yet succeeding even more than you expected. Life has lots of “failures” but quite often we convert them into successes as we get older and wiser (I think back to ‘failing’ at that toxic job and it leading to a whole new, and much better, way of life).

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 16, 2024 at 15:25

      Hi Leanne, I have really improved in this area and as long as I know I’ve done my best, I don’t get too hung up if it all goes pear shaped. x

  • Reply marsha57 January 15, 2024 at 13:36

    I’m trying to think of times when I’ve been afraid of failure. I can’t think of many, but I’m also not adventurous, either. So, maybe that’s fear of failure? When I was teaching, I would come up with projects for my students. The older, wiser teacher would just look at me, smile, and shake his head. He knew I had to do it and see the whopping failure there. And, I continued to teach in that manner. Now, that sounds bad. What I mean is I kept trying new things that seemed like a good idea, but sometimes flopped on a grand scale. There were more times of success, though, than failure.

    I do think failure is good for us because we certainly aren’t perfect. When I fail (usually at cooking), I just chalk it up to experience. This is a very important post, Sue. Thanks for writing it (oh, and I did read Deb’s post).

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 16, 2024 at 15:26

      You have the right attitude, Marsha. When we fail we should chalk it up to experience and move on. I was interested in you sharing your teaching background. I always wanted to be a teacher. x

  • Reply Toni Pike January 15, 2024 at 15:45

    Hi Sue, a fabulous article – I think it’s so important for us to take risks all the time, rather than keeping ourselves wrapped up in cotton wool. We only learn from our mistakes. Hugs, Toni x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 16, 2024 at 15:27

      Thank you, Toni and you are an example of going out of your comfort zone and now look at you enjoying your life and happy x

  • Reply Debbie January 15, 2024 at 16:52

    Thanks for linking to my post Sue! Everything you say here is true and it’s why we continue to flourish as we get older as we see that failure doesn’t mean we have ‘failed’ at something it just means we’ve learnt a new way of looking at things and doing things differently. Life is always interesting and your post says it so well!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 16, 2024 at 15:28

      I think your post was great, Deb and reinforced my thoughts on failing and the freedom it brings when we just accept it and let go of trying to be perfect. I’m sure the kids loved making the gingerbread house and probably laughed when the monster truck crashed into it. It still tasted the same!

  • Reply Janine January 15, 2024 at 19:49

    A great post Sue – I am fairly good at having a go at stuff without worrying about the outcome however I think there are things, particularly exercise related, where I convince myself to not try doing them in case I do fail.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 16, 2024 at 15:30

      I getting better now Janine although at 66 I would want to start getting life right LOL 🙂 Self confidence is an issue when we lack that we don’t want to step out and try new things in case we look foolish or can’t do it. That’s pretty common I think, especially in women. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan January 17, 2024 at 13:17

    Sue this is a great topic to start the year…and I am there with you. I hate(d) to not do well and then I disliked not giving anything a go as well.

    Mmm. Dilemma?! So I used to say, and still do from time to time, will my death bed regret be not giving it a go, or giving it a go and being pleased I did! That was how I approached applying for my principal’s role and even when I was in the role for 4 years and it ended messily because of my ill health I did not think I failed. However, and I still point this out, the system failed me and many others and still does with impossible work loads.

    Lots to process here and you are a living and breathing example of what happens when you turn a “I can’t do” to a “what do I lose if I try?” Nothing!

    Great work here Sue.
    Denyse

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 19, 2024 at 06:07

      Thanks for your encouragement, Denyse and positive comments. It means a lot to me. Love your idea of ‘death bed regrets’. What we think is huge now may not really matter in the end, will it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m enjoying your new found enthusiasm with your blogging on Substack. Have a lovely weekend. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes January 18, 2024 at 07:13

    Thank you for sharing this, Sue. There are so many nuggets of wisdom here. I truly believe if we never fail, we aren’t growing. You can’t stretch your boundaries…or figure out where they are…if you don’t step outside your comfort level. A coach once suggested that I look back at things I considered failures in my life and determine what I gained from those experiences and then consider whether I would really go back and undo them if I could. I truly couldn’t think of a single thing that didn’t end up benefiting me in some way. Thanks for this important reminder.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 19, 2024 at 06:10

      Love that thought Christie -‘If we never fail, we aren’t growing’. How true is that, although at the time we might not see that. You coach gave some great advice as well about looking back at things and whether you would go back and change them. I think for me I wouldn’t because I think of what I wouldn’t have in my current life if I did. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a lovely weekend. x

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee January 18, 2024 at 07:17

    Bakermat has a song, Learn to lose and it has the lines “‘Cause I’ve seen giants fall to their knees
    And I’ve seen losers rise to their feet
    Well who cares if it all goes wrong?
    ‘Cause when I die at least I’ll smile to say I tried” I really love it. I was never really good enough at stuff to worry about failing. It was sort of expected so the doing is always the important bit for me. Is the doing fun? then do it. And thus my Wednesday club does lots of things out of my comfort zone, because maybe they’re fun….

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 19, 2024 at 06:12

      Love the idea of your Wednesday Club, Lydia. I wasn’t every really good at much so stayed in my comfort zone until I was 50 and ran my first marathon – me who was hopeless at sports in school running a full marathon in the time I wanted! That was a turning point for me, for sure. Thanks for your comment and have a lovely weekend. x

  • Reply Min Write of the Middle January 18, 2024 at 11:13

    Hi Sue, how fun to be taking an Italian speaking course. I hope you’re enjoying it! I’m rather familiar with failure. I’ve started so many projects with big dreams and aspirations only to back down and never achieve what was the ultimate goal. I’m not sure what it is that causes this. I think some of it is fear of failure, fear of what I could be getting myself into, fear of change. It’s a very interesting topic! I’ve learnt though to be kind to myself. I don’t beat myself up. Instead I use the experience to try and understand myself better. Also, as I’m currently experiencing, life throws curveballs at us at the most unexpected times and they can throw everything off track and that’s ok. Thanks so much for linking up with the very first #WWWhimsy of 2024. Take care! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 19, 2024 at 06:15

      Hi Min, it was a short Italian bootcamp which got me back on the horse and I hope to continue lessons or practice with Mike who is fluent. You and I are similar in many ways and I really only became brave once I turned 50. I look back on who I was growing up and into my 40s – self-conscious, not self-aware, not appreciating my talents and scared of life. How sad? I am making up for it though in the second half of my life, that’s for sure. x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones January 18, 2024 at 15:21

    This is very thought provoking Sue. I’ve always struggled with fear of failure. There have been times in my life that I’ve been strong enough to overcome it. Finding that strength isn’t easy. It’s much easier not to try

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 19, 2024 at 06:17

      Hi Jen, yes fear of failure is something I think many of us struggle with but I also believe that with life experiences which include failure we come out of those experiences stronger and wiser. Have a lovely weekend x

  • Reply Melynda Egger Brown January 19, 2024 at 23:29

    This topic is important, because the freedom to fail will inspire you to succeed. If the only choice is fail or succeed, with no option for learning from a failed project, we would pretty much only choose to take on the easy successes. Thanks for offering this info for a quiet personal read, as in my opinion, that is when we learn best…

    • Reply Sue Loncaric January 22, 2024 at 16:26

      Hi Melynda, thanks so much for your insightful comment and yes we do learn better when we have a quite time alone. Have a lovely week and see you at Reboot!

    I love hearing from you and your comments are important to me

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