Is it Worse to Fail or to Never try at all?


There are certain things you should never attempt. Eating Tide pods, for one. Don’t try your pet’s food. Feel free to not cheat on your significant other. There are so many things that should just never be attempted, for many reasons. But the list doesn’t end with absurdities. You also shouldn’t attempt things that excite you as much as tax returns and turtle-slow Wi-Fi. Maybe this means medical school. Maybe it’s all the things you’re doing because you were told you’re supposed to. Maybe it’s pursuing your (parents’) dream job.

In the above mentioned scenarios, it’s better to never have attempted in the first place. If something doesn’t light your senses on fire, why bother? Failure hurts. A lot. If you’re going to be able to not only withstand it, but also build resilience and find opportunities within, your heart has to be completely and totally into it.

Roald Dahl, the author of Matilda, once said, “If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

White hot and passionate. That’s what turns failures into lessons. When you’re committed to achieving something, and you want it so, so badly, a bump in the road will only get you down for a moment. That thing that you can’t keep your mind off of. That thing that scares the living daylights out of you but also excites you more than anything. Do that.

Choose your failures wisely. Actively prioritize the things you’re willing to walk through fire for. It could be family, a company, a cause – or all three. That way, if you fail – which you’re bound to at some point – your failure will have meaning. And that’s what will enable you to get back up and try one more time.

Ultimately, the person that will be able to answer this question subjectively for your own life, is, of course, yourself. You know the chances you’ll regret not taking. You know if you’re deeply interested or not. You know when you’re lying to yourself.

If the world is telling you that you’re making a major mistake by not doing something, check in with yourself and see if that is really the case. Is it something worth pursuing? If the answer is a resounding “YES,” then by all means, run as fast as you can in the direction of your dreams. If, deep down, you know it’s not your thing – let it go. You’ll be better for it.


Adelle Goldenberg is the Executive Editor of 

Cover photo captured by Averie Woodard.

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