6/22/2019

Fail Again, Failing Better and 'How To Fail'



Fail: To fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired or approved.

To fail is to be filled with a sense of gut-wrenching dread. It's feeling like you have an arrow following you. Hey look, this girl/guy failed. I've failed; exams, relationships, driving tests and more. And yes failure can be incredibly painful. I used to think failure meant universal negativity and finality. That is, until I stumbled upon Elizabeth Day and her magic.

Her podcast, 'How To Fail' got me through a trying situation last year that felt like, well, a setback. And I guess to some extent it was but at the time it made me realise that I could embrace that failure instead. It makes me think of this JK Rowling quote: "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live in life without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default." 

Hearing people I respect and admire, like Dolly Alderton or Phoebe Waller-Bridge, successful women in their creative fields, openly discussing their successes and setbacks it's eye-opening. Not to mention, reassuring and inspiring. As I write this post, I am listening to Charly Cox's episode and it is equally as inspiring, especially when I have just started to get into writing my own poetry myself. Y'know, failure isn't something we talk about openly but this podcast turns the notion that it should be kept private and not be up for discussion on its head. Difficult conversations demand to be had.

The book, follows in a similar fashion though it delves more extensively into Elizabeth Day's experiences and stories. She covers how to fail at dating, being Gwyneth Paltrow, friendship, work, families and more. It also ties her experiences in with that of her podcast guests and is like a cosy, reassuring, calming blanket of a book. Crammed with wisdom and humour and charm, it's such a brilliant read. 

I'll be honest, I found How To Fail a bit too real at times which is in no way a critique of the book itself. It just meant I read it a bit slower and more cautiously than usual. That being said, it is in the realness and openness of Day and her contributors that solace and relatability lie. This is such a beautiful book and if I was Oprah-level rich, I'd give everyone in my life a copy. So go read it, or listen to the audiobook-also narrated by Day. Oh and side note, Phoebe Waller-Bridge descending the stairs singing 'At Last x Etta James', big mood. 

-Have you read How To Fail? What did you think of it?

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