The expansive effort to rid our service of failure has unintended consequences that detract from performance and character. Specifically, a fear of failure projected across the force robs leaders of the opportunity to teach service members how to learn from mistakes and grow. Rather than fostering a culture that values honesty and creates space to bridge failure and success, members often feel suffocated by the pressures of perfection. Those pressures, manifested in destructive ways, detract from our goal of being the finest Navy in the history of mankind.
John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, captured the essence of what can be feared from failure.
Let’s face it, we’re all imperfect and we’re going to fall short on occasion. But we must learn from failure and that will enable us to avoid repeating our mistakes. Through adversity, we learn, grow stronger, and become better people.