To Fail Is To Succeed

There must be 100 articles about this subject but I always like to talk about things that happen to me or where I have an opinion.

I was reading a blog post by Ben Kubicek about allowing failure and I agree with a lot of things.

I’m a parent of two adorable kids. The oldest is 4 years old and the youngest is almost 2. The youngest one is walking around but the oldest will not stop running, climbing on stuff, and seeing how far she can go.

I’m not one of those parents that constantly warn their kids that something can happen. If she wants to climb on the jungle gym to the highest point, go ahead. I will of course make sure the doesn’t make a death fall whenever she slips but I do tend to let my kids fail. If they don’t fail, they will not learn. It’s hard though because you want to protect them as much as you can, but protecting them all the time does not help them either.

If Thomas Edison had believed in failure… we would still be living in darkness. If Henry Ford had given up, we would still be riding on horseback… If Alexander Graham Bell had given in to the clutches of failure, we would be spending less time staring at those small plastic things we call phones that rule our lives (which might not be a bad thing!).

Did I ever fail

Oh yes, I did! In my career, I had my share of failures and from each one of them, I learned something. Sometimes it was a hard lesson and sometimes it was something small, but every time I tried to learn something from it. I did things like updating rows in a production database without a WHERE clause. I remember executing a change script in a hurry because the boss was watching over my shoulder all the time and I didn’t pay attention to the code.

This was in my early years and nowadays I would not get flustered when there would be a lot of pressure.

That’s all fun and all but you just can’t fail when you’re dealing with production issues in environments with high-volume transactions or when lives are at stake.

If you’re scared to fail in those environments then there is another problem.

You probably don’t have a good disaster recovery plan (or haven’t tested it), you’re not confident about your backups or you’re just not confident enough in yourself.

There is going to be a time that something goes wrong and there is a failure. Be prepared for it and make sure that when disaster strikes.

There are a lot of articles on how to set up a disaster recovery plan, processes on how to prevent unwanted changes (like Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery).

So don’t be scared to fail. Learn from your mistakes and prepare yourself so it doesn’t happen again.