Failure

michael jordan failure

Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. Product failure ranges from failure to sell the product to fracture of the product, in the worst cases leading to personal injury, the province of forensic engineering. Former IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson is attributed with saying ‘If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.’ ‘

Wired Magazine’ editor Kevin Kelly likewise explains that a great deal can be learned from things going unexpectedly, and that part of science’s success comes from keeping blunders ‘small, manageable, constant, and trackable.’ He uses the example of engineers and programmers who push systems to their limits, breaking them to learn about them. Kelly also warns against creating a culture (e.g. school system) that punishes failure harshly, because this inhibits a creative process, and risks teaching people not to communicate important failures with others (e.g. Null results).

The criteria for failure are heavily dependent on context of use, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. A situation considered to be a failure by one might be considered a success by another, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game. Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a failure, another might consider to be a success, a qualified success or a neutral situation. It may also be difficult or impossible to ascertain whether a situation meets criteria for failure or success due to ambiguous or ill-defined definition of those criteria. Finding useful and effective criteria, or heuristics (rules of thumb), to judge the success or failure of a situation may itself be a significant task.

A person who is only interested in the final outcome of an activity would consider it to be an Outcome Failure if the core issue has not been resolved or a core need is not met. A failure can also be a process failure whereby although the activity is completed successfully, a person may still feel dissatisfied if the underlying process is perceived to be below expected standard or benchmark. Loser is a derogatory term for a person who is (according to the standards of the observer) generally unsuccessful.

‘Fail’ is the name of a popular Internet meme where users superimpose a caption, often the word ‘fail’ or ‘epic fail,’ onto photos or short videos depicting unsuccessful events or people falling short of expectations. A contributor to ‘Urban Dictionary’ wrote that the term, ‘fail,’ could be used as an interjection, ‘when one disapproves of something,’ citing the example: ‘You actually bought that? FAIL.’ This most likely originated as a shortened form of ‘You fail’ or, more fully, “‘You fail it,’ the taunting ‘game over’ message in the 1998 Japanese video game ‘Blazing Star,’ notorious for its fractured English. ‘Fails’ are discussed on ‘Fail Blog.’ #fail is a common hashtag on Twitter to indicate contempt or displeasure, and the image that accompanies the message that the site is overloaded is referred to as the ‘fail whale.’ ‘Failboat’ or ‘consignment of fail’ is a popular meme series, featuring images of cargo vessels tipping over or shedding cargo, with captions such as ‘the failboat has arrived,’ or ‘all aboard the failboat.’

The term ‘miserable failure’ has also been popularized as a result of a widely known ‘Google bombing,’ which caused Google searches for the term to turn up the White House biography of George W. Bush.

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