The Art of Failure



It takes courage to fail. Failure is a rite of passage for all of us and it often leads to success. Failure creates innovators and in this fast-changing world. We should embrace failure instead of fight it.  It is necessary for invention, and as the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos says, “failure and innovation are inseparable twins.”

Personally, I have failed far more times than I have succeeded and it is those failures that have helped me develop grit, determination and self-confidence to relentlessly pursue my goals. As parents, one of the hardest things to do is watch your child fail even when this failure may be the greatest teaching tool available. After repeated failures, achievement tastes that much sweeter. Even John Maxwell’s best-selling book Failing Forward shares ways in which failures can become stepping stones for success.

I met with an accomplished physician recently who had an incredibly impressive resume. He is a graduate of Stanford Medical School, completed his residency at Harvard University and has many initials that followed his M.D. He garnered instant respect, and not just because of his impeccable credentials. It was because he was willing to share his personal story—the trials and failures he endured—which included almost dropping out of high school and quitting college three times before begrudgingly completing it in seven years.  His resume stood out for sure, but his pathway to get there, including his failures, shined even brighter.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is in our community to help students on their journey- failures and all. We believe in creating brighter futures for our children and if that means leading in education innovations by taking calculated risks, then we will. We won’t always get it right, but that’s not the point. We are committed to developing a lifelong love of learning in our children and the only way they can experience that is by honing the art of failure. As Henry Ford once said, “failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

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