Data Points - Part One


Let's consider the concept of failure. Merriam-Webster defines failure:

a : omission of occurrence or performance;  
specifically : a failing to perform a duty or expected action  
b (1) : a state of inability to perform a normal function
  (2) : an abrupt cessation of normal functioning  
c : a fracturing or giving way under stress  
2a : lack of success
b : a failing in business
3a : a falling short
b : deteriorationdecay
4: one that has failed  

Examples they give for each:  failure to pay rent, kidney failure, heart failure, power failure, structural failure, bankruptcy, crop failure, failure to get into law school. 

I'll toss in some: 1) failure to get Melvin the Caterpillar to emerge as Melvin the Butterfly for one of my college entomology classes. I ruled his death an insecticide, get it? Wait, that makes me the murderer. 2) dropping out of college the last semester of my senior year. 3) flipping the wrong switch during transfer and pumping untold gallons of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) all over the floor. *Grabs mop, sidesteps towards spreading liquid, nervous laugh,* "Let me get that real quick."

I could keep going. Trudging through the plethora of failures of character, all seven gazillion, in my thoughts and actions towards friends, family, my husband, my children, my Lord. Failing myself too; not standing up for myself at times, not standing up to myself at other times. At least I don't fail with my bug's screen time, 'cause fourteen hours a day is okay, probably read that somewhere. It's not?


How do you define failure? What types of situations cause your inner critic to go wild? "I'm such a failure, I'll never change, I knew this would happen, why did I even try, I'm so stupid, I can't believe I did that, no one else would have done that, seriously no one else." What is your posture towards failure? Are you afraid to fail? To be seen failing? What does it say about you if and when you fail? 

Meet Frieda. Frieda, of course, is a failure. Frieda fails at everything. We catch up with Frieda at the end of her day, as she's laid her head on her pillow, replaying all the ways she's such a failure.

"I failed to get up on time for work. I failed to eat a healthy breakfast, which is failing at my diet. I failed to get gas in my car last night, which made me late for work, another fail. I failed to file that report, facepalm. I wasn't prepared for that meeting - are y'all catchin' on - fail. I had forgotten to take out money for lunch since I'm trying that 'envelope system' thing, fail. I didn't remember I had scheduled that doctor's appointment for today, finding out only when my doctor's office called to see if I was coming, such a fail. Then I still had to pay for the missed appointment, double fail. I forgot to pick up dog food on the way home; Fido was hungry and I'm still a failure. I completely spaced on making a dessert for Johnny's class party, hearing all about my obvious parental failure once he got home. I didn't thaw the meat for dinner this morning because remember, I failed to get up on time. I am still failing at my diet because I ordered take-out, I'm never going to change, I might as well just give it up. I completely forgot to call my sister to wish her a happy birthday, how do you forget your sister's birthday, I'm such a stupid, stupid failure. But that's typical, everyone expects failure from me. And then climbing into bed tonight, I noticed the hole in my pajamas that I failed to sew up.

Poor failure Frieda.

Data Points - Part Two

Onions and Elephants