Failing in Public

Fail First - Fail Fast - Fail Hard

Enter the playpen, for insights and ideas on the theme of play. Let’s build a kindergarten for adults - to invoke and foster the spirit of play like a child while shouldering the responsibilities of adulthood. Let’s play!

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So as all of you are quite aware, I've been failing aplenty recently. I haven't been publishing daily as I had committed.

🕹 Weapons of Mass Distraction

If that wasn't enough, I've been avoiding facing that failure by diving into the avoidance rabbit hole of toys of thought. Should I reconsider Roam Research as toy of choice and return to my first love Obsidian. Maybe I should play with Dendron and delve deeper into hierarchal structures? Isn’t it interesting how tools of creation can become tools of distraction?

As I dove deeper into the darkness, I knew I needed a way out. I was rapidly spiralling out of control. Maybe a herculean effort with all I can muster is what I need. And from the depth of the rabbit hole was born this hare-brained idea.

But don't think there's no method to my madness. Actually, I'm not quite sure, whether the method precedes the madness or it's the other way round. Regardless, here's how I decided to play it:

I knew I was diving into the deep end by committing to 20000 words in the span of 20 hours, with illustrations and editing to boot. I knew I was going to embarrass myself in front of the whole world when I put it out there. Was I setting myself up for failure?

And fail I did. I never completed what I said I would. I failed in my own eyes. I failed in the eyes of all of you. It was heartbreaking when Jamie Russo said, he went to sleep hoping to see the book when he woke up. So, to all those who were looking forward to seeing the fruits of my labour, I apologise.

In a way though, maybe I did set myself up to fail. Maybe I didn't want fruits of labour. I want the desserts of play instead. Super supporter Jenny Kim was wondering if the 20 hr write-a-thon allowed for food and water breaks. Ascetic endeavours are always awe-inspiring. When I say ascetic, the key here is deprivation. What if I want fulfilment instead? So here’s what I did.


Well, I failed, didn't I? I let myself and others down, didn't I? I'm tempted to revert to the 'fruits of labour' model and restore my bruised ego and wipe away the shame of failure. But that's not what play is about. Here's how I could have played the game better and won.

💙 Meeting Friends:

Instead of isolating myself to write, I entertained friends who'd come over. Instead of general chit-chat, if I'd invited them on the journey instead we could have all added ideas, thoughts and insights into the book. Thus turning a 'distraction' into 'attraction' - a magnet for collective and collaborative energy.

🧡 Lucky Dates:

Getting to know someone over coffee is always fun. Getting to know someone's sense of play is even more so. We could have engaged in a game of play that might even have spun off into a new section in the book. What if she'd turned out to be an editor? Exploring new people always offers serendipitous possibilities.

🍕Food is Mood:

The peanut butter thick shake topped with ice-cream was fuel enough for 3 marathons. I didn't channelise the instant energy into the direction I'd chosen. Doing so would have made my writing run effortless and enjoyable. Energy management is often more important than time management and I missed used this to my advantage.

So the very excuses I had for failing could have been used to win. More importantly by playing rather than working.

That said, did my failure bring me down? No.
Did it bring you all down? Yes.

Nobody likes to see a player lose, especially their favourite player. More so the one they place bets on.

👎🏽 Failure vs Success 👍🏽

Socially we're conditioned to chase success, but I've always liked the idea of failure more. I've learnt more about myself failing, than from any other experience. And the best part of failures, I vividly remember them all. It may seem strange that it's easier to remember failures than successes, but our brain is wired to remember the things that go wrong as a survival mechanism.

The main distinction I see between failure and success is what they have to offer.

Failure teaches me about myself.
Success teaches me about others.

Curious about my thoughts on success? Stay subscribed and stay tuned. Coming soon to your inbox. Check out more articles on my website or DM on Twitter 🕹