click here for thefailureclub.com

click here for thefailureclub.com

What is The Failure Club?
The Failure Club is a loosely affiliated group, open to anyone who is suitably inspired by the desire to push beyond their perceived boundaries.  To participate, one must propose a Failure Club project that is then approved by the other members.  To qualify, a Project must meet these criteria:

  • It must be something that is within the realm of possibility to achieve, but yet has a high probability of failure within the 12 month time limit
  • It must be something that, if accomplished, would be an inspiring project for you and others
  • It must be legal & ethical

Once approved, you have 12 months to achieve the specific, measurable goal that you define.  You are expected to play full out and provide regular updates to the group on the obstacles you encounter.   If you manage to accomplish the goal you set out, then the primary lesson you walk away with is that you underestimated your capabilities, and you are invited to choose a more ambitious project for the following year.   By design, you should be faced with the challenge of continuing to pursue your project on a daily basis despite near certain failure.  At the end of the year, the club celebrates those who have gained an appreciation for ‘failure’ as a step along the path.

Some members continue to pursue their projects, and ultimately see them succeed.  Others have discovered that the project they choose was not really suited for them, and have subsequently discovered their true passion.  It is all a journey, and members are invited to continue with annual projects as many times as they would like, although one may only have one project per year.  Failure *is* the intended result, and the more times you hit up against it, the better.

What are Examples of Failure Club Projects?

The following projects have been taken on by members who set out to achieve these goals within a 12 month time limit.  The only common elements are the audacity of the dream and the courage to put in 100% despite overwhelming odds.

With limited experience and resources, members have set out to:

  • Launch a $10MM Venture Capital Fund
  • Produce a reality TV show
  • Become a model for print advertising and with at least 2 national campaigns
  • Create an exhibit from a private quilt collection, and have the exhibit displayed in a prestigious national museum
  • Qualify for the US Amateur Golf Championship tournament
  • Record and produce a song that gets regional airtime play
  • Perform a stand-up comedy routine at a venue with an audience at least 150 paying guests

All these projects failed in their designated year, although at least two ultimately succeeded because the member had built up enough momentum and continued working on it, having overcome the fear of ‘failure.’

What is the Story behind The Failure Club?

On Dec 11, 2006, I celebrated my first deliberate ‘failure’ by finalizing the merger of my nascent venture capital fund into one of the largest venture fund firms in the world.  Not even 3 years old, the fund that had been teetering on the brink of collapse practically from its inception was suddenly one of the biggest players in the investment world’s hottest new market – India.  While most would have considered this improbable success to be a crowning achievement, it was merely the first of many intentional ‘failures.’  That project, and the counter-intuitive embrace of failure, was the result of an absurd endeavor called The Failure Club.

A favorite quote of mine extols: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”  Living ‘on the edge’ means constantly pushing the boundaries of what we believe to be achievable.  Accordingly, in 2004, my friend Gunil and I co-founded The Failure Club – a transformational, life-altering book club-like, support group, of sorts.  This has become a story of valiantly trying to fail, and failing.

In The Failure Club, members learn to defy the fears associated with ‘failure’ by pursuing seemingly impossible goals that they set for themselves.  From the outset, failure is not only a highly probable outcome, it is the desired outcome.  Only through embracing the reality of failure can its’ societal stigmas be stripped away and replaced with an inspirational alternative.

Thomas Edison famously experimented with as many as 10,000 materials before discovering the filament necessary to complete the light bulb, and consequently, illuminate the world.  Had he feared or avoided failure, we would still be stuck in the dark.  Literally.  To the contrary, he celebrated each ‘failure’ as another definitive step towards ultimate success.

In much the same way, The Failure Club embraces failure as a critical step on the pathway to authentic fulfillment.  All too frequently, ‘success’ is what people are willing to settle for when they are afraid to risk failing at something truly life-defining.  To give 110% and still come up short means that one has discovered the actual limits of his capabilities – a rare and inspiring accomplishment that is worthy of genuine celebration.

The Failure Club believes that once ‘failure’ becomes acceptable and even fun, it is only then that one discovers that limitations are usually arbitrary and self-imposed, and are most often determined by fear.  When we overcome that fear, we blow away our self-inflicted limits, and we will each achieve results that appear miraculous.

How do I join the Failure Club?

Visit http://thefailureclub.com for more details.  Then email Philip using philip @ thefailureclub.com and briefly describe yourself and your desired project, including why you believe there is a high probability of failure, and what would open up for you if you no longer feared failure.

Links

Here are some links and clips that I find particularly poignant and inspiring

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"beyond the fear of failure is the courage to explore new realms and expand your horizens - know no fear"

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