So, I ask you: how do you personally define a "failure"?
If it's going bankrupt with a company you started, getting fired for doing something inconsistent with your values, or needing to break off a wedding engagement or a divorce that could have been avoided if you listened to your heart originally, then, yes, that is a failure, and I can empathize.
However, if your internalized view of failure is anything that is not perfect, then you are disempowering yourself from exercising your inherent creativity.
You're certainly not the only one shackled by these norms, and I don't blame you with the way our educational system is focused so rigidly on "correct answers" and standardized testing. This must change. And modern management systems must become far more adaptive....
Fortunately, the US Army provides a lot of insight about how a highly bureaucratic, command and control organization (the Army of the Cold War) can become more adaptive and creative (which it must when facing rapidly adaptive enemies, and when soldiers and officers can rarely predict what problems they will encounter). It starts with every individual, and unlearning many old bad habits. As Col. Casey Haskins, who heads up military instruction for West Point, has said, "You have to make it cool to fail."Harvard Business Review | HBR Blog Network
The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure
by Peter Sims
Even though I was never a salesman, a number of years ago I put up twenty five bucks for a two-hour course from a salesman I had heard was really outstanding. His spiel was all about failing as the essence of sales rather than succeeding.
His message: in cold call, one in hundred close rate is successful. You just have to be able to take the ninety-nine no's, not all of which are polite. Fear of failure that erects obstacles to trying is mostly about ego-defense and an imposed straight jack rather than rationalized prudence or imagined inability.
His advice: Check off every "no" as being a step closer from a "yes," and analyze each encounter in terms of lessons learned, positive and negative, with a view to improving your ground game.
It was twenty-five bucks well-spent.