Definition of Failure

Hannah Goracke Dr. Young English Composition 101 26 September 2012 Failure Failure is an ambiguous term. Each person can define what it means to “fail” in a different way. Just as someone has their own standards of leading a successful life, they also have their own standards in terms of maybe leading a not so successful life. Within the word “failure” therein lays a few different meanings that may differ from person to person depending on his or her own opinion. Each person may have had a different experience with failure, which led him or her to believe what he or she does.

Today, failure can be attached to three different ideas. First, failure can be defined as the opposite of success. Lost the race? You failed it. Got a 54 percent on your last math test? That’s failure. Whether this failure comes about as a result of laziness or just bad luck, this is the type of failure that we have been taught since we knew how to spell the word. It is the most common use of the word; if you were to ask a random stranger what “failure” meant to them, they would most likely correlate it with the word “success”.

Failure is not success, it is failing to succeed. Still, there is another meaning of the word that takes on a more philosophical view. Failure, some may argue, is the actually the word used to describe the result of not trying. This definition has to do with the outcome the effort opposed to trying but not reaching a specific goal. Failing to do anything at all is failing to try. You want to run the race, but you don’t? Failure. Got a 54 percent on your math test? Technically failing, but did you try?

If any sort of trying was involved, failure did not occur. Even by getting an F on the math test, there was still an A for effort. The third meaning may require a bit more explanation. The word “fail” has become quite commonplace in today’s society among young tween-age kids to teenagers. It has become a slang term, usually used in humorous situations. It is often used to kid or make fun of another or themselves when a small and funny mistake has been committed. It is almost always used in a joking manner.

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You overslept your alarm and missed your first class? Fail. That person left their blinker on for two miles after they turned? Fail. The word “fail” has become part of the young people’s generation. It is a term that is used very commonly among the teenagers of today. Failure can have multiple meanings. How it’s interpreted all depend on the person and the context of their situation. Someone who tried to complete a task but instead experienced failure might be bitter or optimistic depending on his or her outlook.

Someone who is more pessimistic might repeat that failure is the opposite of success. Someone who has a more optimistic mindset would be able to look at the bigger picture understand that by failing to try, they decrease their chances of success exponentially. Failure has taken on another meaning as a popular slang term used by young people to describe a funny mistake. The term failure holds much ambiguity that depends on the perspective and experiences of the person putting it in use.

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