Everyone Fails, But Only the Wise Find Humility

Government Executive - Failure is like the original sin in the biblical narrative: everyone has it.

Regardless of class, caste, race, or gender, we are all born to fail, we practise failure for as long as we live, and pass it on to others. Just like sin, failure can be disgraceful, shameful and embarrassing to admit. And did I mention 'ugly'? Failure is also ugly – ugly as sin, as they say. For all its universality, however, failure is under-studied, when not simply neglected. It's as if even the idea of looking at failure more closely makes us uneasy; we don't want to touch it for fear of contagion.

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Costica Bradatan is associate professor of humanities at Texas Tech University and honorary research associate professor of philosophy at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is the author, most recently, of Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers (2015), and is currently working on a new book, In Praise of Failure, for Harvard University Press.