How to Fail

How to Fail

The modern world demands one thing above all else: that we succeed. The stories we tell ourselves are around striving, overcoming huge odds and eventually winning, normally in some important sector of the economy. Society has a particularly harsh word reserved for those who don’t make it. They are – society says - ‘losers’. 

However, the greatest likelihood is that we’re going to fail in some area of our lives or another, especially in the professional sphere (the focus of this class is particularly on failure in relation to work).

Our society knows so much about preparing for success; and yet it pays recklessly little attention to the far more likely and urgent matter: how we can handle failure with dignity, understanding, wisdom – and perhaps a touch of humour.

This class looks at the topic across philosophy, psychology, art and religion, as well as probing into our own emotions and backgrounds. We consider:

  • • The perfectionist drive in the modern world, where it comes from and how best to respond to it.

  • • Our parents: what they wanted and how we fear disappointing them.

  • • What lies at the heart of the dread of failing, especially as it relates to a loss of status and dignity.

  • • What it means to fail ‘well’.

  • • The real statistics of success; and how good we are at denying them.

  • • The Ancient Greek idea of noble failure and the Zen Buddhist notion of good imperfection.

  • • And the media’s influence on our understanding of failure and success.

    This class seeks to equip us with the tools to handle failure on our own terms – which is a success of its own. We leave with a grown-up understanding of what we are up against and a consoling impression of the universality of reversal, imperfection and a degree of melancholy. No life is free of failure, and so we realise that failing well is an art all of its own – one of the most necessary we could ever learn.

    Explore More

    This class is in a sequence with How to Identify Your Career Potential and How to Be Confident which together cover The School of Life's ideas on work. 

    ABOUT CLASSES

    Our classes have been designed to give useful insights around the big themes in life. You’ll be challenged to think deeply about the issues that matter most, and provided with a space to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences with other curious, open-minded individuals.

    These sessions are designed by experts and taught by members of our faculty. They include a mix of lecture, conversation and group activity. 

    To get an idea of what to expect from classes, workshops and events in our classroom, watch this short film. 

Details for Thu 6th Jul 2017

Course Leader

  Loading course leader details...

TIMETABLE

18.40            Welcome buffet & drinks
19.00            Class commences
20.15            Break (times vary)
21.30            Class finishes

VENUE

The School of Life
70 Marchmont Street
London 
WC1N 1AB

Concessions: we offer a 10% standard ticket price reduction on events under £60 for Students with valid ID, over-65's, un-waged and people with disabilities. To claim your discount please click here. Please note that we will check your ID for proof of eligibility on arrival at event.

Become a Friend: by becoming a Friend, you’ll enjoy a free Class from the Core Curriculum and access a host of exclusive events, from Conversation Cocktails to Philosophy Breakfasts. To find out more, visit our Membership page.

Enrol on The Study Programme: The best way fully to immerse yourself in what The School of Life has to offer is to enrol in The Study Programme, a one year experience which allows you to take all our classes in your own time and learn everything we have to teach. Click here to find out more.

Book Now

£55.00

Price as configured: £0.00

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers less than 10 days before the event.

School of Life Business to Business services

The Life House