Posted by: Phil Anderson | January 5, 2014

Failure and Growth

This is the time of year for making resolutions. I don’t generally make any New Year’s Resolutions because frankly there’s not much room for improvement… (obviously just kidding).

According to the dictionary, a resolution is “a decision or determination; a resolve.” This makes it sound a lot more serious than it turns out to be in practice. The real reason I don’t make resolutions is that I don’t like to fail. I don’t want to make a promise (to myself or anyone else) that I can’t keep. Instead, I set a few goals, and even if I don’t meet those goal at least I’ve made progress.

Broken resolutions and unmet goals can be discouraging, but you have a choice to either give up or grow. Will you surrender, or attack again with a different tactic? Will you write it off as a loss, or invest more time and effort to accomplish it? Will you quit, or apply yourself more industriously?

When I write stories, my protagonists very often fail many times before they succeed. If a character accomplishes his goal too easily, it makes for a very short story and an uninteresting hero. Everyone can relate to imperfection, and a character arc that starts at the top has nowhere to go.

As a writer I’ve learned that I learn a lot from failure. I have a folder filled with deleted scenes and even entire chapters that just didn’t work out they way I had planned.  But I don’t erase them completely because there are some good ideas and good writing that I can look at and learn from.

My life outside of writing is also not as successful as I’d wish, and I’m admittedly not as good a student of those failures. I continue to make mistakes and poor choices that I should be learning from. But I believe I am slowly making progress, and at the very least I’m not giving up.

Statistically a large percentage of New Year’s Resolutions fail in a short amount of time, but the real question is: will you give up or grow?



  1. Thanks for the challenge. I know it’s never too late and learning goes on until there is no breath in the body. I think I’ll make the effort to grow! Good thoughts!n

  2. […] Failure and Growth […]

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