Embracing failure

A popular UX mantra encourages us to “embrace failure.” Sometimes I wonder if we’ve taken this too far and have ended up embracing all the wrong kinds of failure. For example:

  • The failure to take chances
  • The failure to try things
  • The failure to convince clients to pay for UX
  • The failure to do “real” UX
  • The failure to be empathetic
  • The failure to change things

“Embracing failure” is a misleading phrase because it’s missing the most important part of the process: forgiveness.

The point of embracing failure is not to wallow in failures and give up on success. The point is to acknowledge the failure, forgive yourself, move on, and and try something else. Without the forgiveness step, you risk getting mired in past failures and end up carrying too much baggage to move on and try new things or do better next time.

Maybe we should change our mantra to, “Acknowledge failure, embrace forgiveness.”