Failure Porn Is Destroying The Greatest Personal Growth Tool

How the “4E Formula” empowers you to own failure

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  • People who have given up on trying and now point to failure as their victory as if it were the end game they aspired to win
  • Valuable feedback
  • A clue that you did something wrong, or at least something that failed to resonate with your audience.

How to blunt the fear and pain of failure

That’s a logical way of looking at failure, but failure triggers an emotional response. It hurts, and because it hurts, we fear it.

Step 1 — Expose yourself to failure

There’s one sure way not to fail at anything. Never do anything. Sometimes we fear it so much that we avoid situations where we might fail.

Step 2 — Experiment

It’s common to attack every effort as a win or die endeavor. You put so much work into it. Sometimes it feels like your entire life rides on the outcome.

Experiments usually fail. That’s why we experiment, to find out what works and what doesn’t work.

The outcome of your experiments is always unknown. If we knew the outcome ahead of time, there would be no need to experiment. Do you know the result of your creations before you put them out to the world? Of course not. That’s why you can legitimately call it an experiment.

Step 3 — Eliminate the excuses

You experimented, and it failed. It hurts to receive a rejection letter. Total indifference hurts even more. But what you get in return will fuel your growth.

You can reject it and make excuses.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Accept the information

Your experiment failed. It happens. Take some time to digest it. Approach it with the curiosity of a failed experiment. You want to peel back the onion and discover why.

Step 4–Emerge smarter and stronger

Wouldn’t it be great to emerge from a failure with a smile on your face? There’s a lesson to be learned from each experience. When you glean the learnings, you emerge with wisdom.

The experimentation approach makes failure tolerable, but learning from it makes it valuable.

Once you recover from the emotional blow, you can dispassionately assess what went wrong. Review your experience as though you were a disinterested third party.

Poor execution

If a singer sings a song off key, it doesn’t mean the song is bad; it means the singer messed up the execution.

Poor strategy

Your idea was sound. You executed well. Why didn’t it work?

The wrong vision

A distorted view of the big picture is the most serious problem you’ll face. If you learn from your mistakes and pay attention to your market, it should be the least frequent problem.


Have you ever taken on a job you’re grossly unqualified or unprepared to handle? We like to think of ourselves as masters of our craft. We take pride in that belief. Pride can beget an undeserved arrogance. We feel that we can accomplish anything. As often happens, when you shoot for something beyond your capability, you fail.


  1. Expose yourself to the possibility of failure.
  2. Approach your work as a series of experiments.
  3. Take time to digest a failure.
  4. Learn from your failure.

Written by

Experimenter in life, productivity, and creativity. Work in Forge | Elemental | Business Insider | GMP | Contact: barry@barry-davret dot com.

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