Why the hell am I going to Bxl?! Let the harvest begin! Step 1: soil sampling

Dear fellow participants of Fail - un#Fail at the end of this month in Brussels!

Get used to being asked questions :)

This is an attempt to find out what's happening in the "social soil" among us, the LOTE5 participants, already. And since someone has to start ... here we go.

Failure. Success. Wow, what a wide and rich topic.

My guess is, since you’re about to spend 3,5 days of your life in this area of inquiry, it touched something. You might be as intrigued as me, because something wants to be explored on an intellectual or emotional, collective or personal level. What we apparently share is an interest for failure (success?) and I assume that we also share a common interest in “let’s make more sense of this!”. I might as well be wrong, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to find out.

So, would you please let me know

Why are you coming to Brussels?

I can tell you my “why”. If you’re challenged by emotional content, leave this page NOW. Then better don’t read, just reply :slight_smile: Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

I’m very excited to meet you all soon, but what the “why” brought up for me, hasn’t been an easy ride so far. As soon as I stepped into the topic of failure, my relationship to it got a lot clearer and it was not always pretty to face. I had not been aware how much of a chicken I was, how eager I was to avoid failing (or what I perceived as such).

One example: I teach a very efficient self-help method to release stress and other emotional baggage. Some years ago, I was asked by the manager of our local branch of a huge swedish clothing company to coach their team, so they could handle the daily stress in the store better. I was over the moon - and dead shit scared. Too scared. GODDAMNIT!!

When reflecting now on the topic of success vs. failure, I realized: This thing called failure, that many of us fear, but to a different degree, is what has kept me from doing lots of things in the past. Wasn’t this one of my “biggest” failures so far: letting the fear of it take control? I believe so.

This is what brings me to Brussels. I want to de-demonize the “F”, address it more directly and with others instead of within my isolated brain. Talk about it. Listening deeply to others and share the humanness behind the story of failure/success, find the questions that open up new spaces, look at the assumptions we hold individually and collectively and mold this thing called “failure” into another form. Rewrite the story of success and make more peace with this perceived threat. In the end, it’s my decision which story I live in, what failure means to me and how I let the meaning I give it affect my life.

That’s why I’m coming. Partly. It was, what caught my attention. Now I’m really happy that other topics I care about are being touched: Care, for example. I’m very interested in the topic of how to unfail “care”, since I work in this area, and I’m not on the edge, but far far off it. And the 3. “why” is that I want to have a blast with all of you :slight_smile:

And why are you coming? :slight_smile: In case you think you gotta soul strip now, too: naah! I just want to know what is “in the room” already. Partly because that’s an aspect of harvesting during the event. (Check the Documentation/Harvesting wiki out, it’s what the cool kids do!)

See you soon and have a nice weekend




Well, I live here. And Noemi asked nicely. That’s all I really needed, personally.

I’ll be giving a talk about processes we use to de-demonise failure in technology, and ways those processes can translate into other domains, so hopefully that will add a few cobblestones to your avenue of inquiry.

One of the things I’ve noticed about the fear element of failure is that failure can feel so final. Sometimes it feels like if X fails, then everything comes to a crashing halt, and that’s a terrifying concept. However, it also isn’t true: the world keeps turning. What’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you? Even if that happens, the world keeps turning, and as long as that worst possible thing isn’t “you died,” you’re going to wake up the next day and find out that the fear of “everything stops” is mistaken. There is always some next step.

Incorporating this into your decision-making, both the rational and emotional parts of it, is one of the keys to making peace with the threat of failure. Glad to talk about it more in a few weeks, if you like.


It’s the only way I can think

I am a bit impatient with social conventions prescribing us to tiptoe around stuff. If I disagree with someone, I’ll just say it rather than beating about the bush. If someone thinks I’m talking bullshit, I am grateful for them to call bullshit on me, rather than politely nodding. Nobody ever learned anything by watching others nod politely. What I’m trying to say is that I cannot think properly unless I am allowed to call a spade a spade, and unless people around me do the same.

At most professional conferences and events, there is no incentive to speak the truth. You can glimpse some truth from most people; and you can get the occasional honest talk from a few. But in general everyone is supposed to tell everyone else how amazing they are. This is how the game is played. But this failure stuff is liberating. It creates a context in which the incentive to hustle is greatly reduced. So you get much healthier, better food for the collective thought.

At least, that’s the theory. We’ll soon find out.

Saying ‘No’ almost never succeeds

My expectations for the event couldn’t be more open. As a new entrant to the ER community i’m fascinated by the structures and conversations i see around me on the site and i constantly have to force myself to delve further into various parts of the community to discover new aspects of it. The whole experience has been one of engagement, education and enlightenment. There has to be a next step though…

Without the face-to-face aspect though it does seem rather… inhuman (i’m a touchy-feely arty sort of person so i crave human interaction to gain understanding)

I work in the performing arts, both with theatre and poetry, as a performer, producer and manager. Failure is at the core of our philosophy of creation. No-one gets the words right first time, no film or drama springs fully formed into life. We try, we fail, we discuss, we try again. Sometimes, even when we’re absolutely certain we’ve got it right THIS TIME, we fail, or we change our minds and do it differently.

We often talk within industry meetings about the ‘freedom to fail’, the chance for individuals, companies and even major institutions and buildings to take risks, and be able to fail. Yet we remain a very risk-averse community. Failure is freedom.

I’m very keen to discuss with people the difference between ‘failure’ (not succeeding at all) and ‘failing’ (not achieving everything you set out to do) as this is where i often find myself balanced as an individual.

Saying yes to a crazy conference in Brussels in February full of people i’ve never met? offering to cook for 100+ people? couch surfing? I think saying ‘NO’ would have been the true failure.


Like Alex above, I agree there must be something else to these online interactions that make us speak of “community”. I’ve seen it every year since LOTE1 (I’ve been to and helped organise all of them), and it’s what fuels the sentiment that I am not failing in my work as someone that is personally vested in all this.

I need social interaction as a cure to failing in social interaction (the kind that is on the failing-failure continuum Alex mentions). I increasingly find the offline world intimidating and often take digital routes to solve problems that can be solved via a simple phonecall. Talking about this won’t help, but doing something about it, which is spending time with people, will.

Oh, and cccording to @KiraVde, by coming I’ll also be proving I’m not a hologram :-)

Figuring out how to (avoid) dealing with others :slight_smile:

One of the areas in which I suppose I am failing is human-to-human interaction. I have my own ideosynchratic way to look at outcomes and I am really only interested in interacting within that context (unless it’s with people with whom I am close which include several people in Edgeryders).  Others in the Edgeryders board of directors will testify as to my general impatience with long discussions and consensus based decision-making. Maybe through the event I could get some insight into how to interact with/relate to others in this kind of open space without having to deal with/ put up with conversations and contexts in which I have no interest. So I can figure out how to live with my failures with minimal impact on others :slight_smile:

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