Finding the Positives in Your Failures

Center for Positive Organizations Blog


Myers, C.G. (2014, March). What’s positive about failure? Center for Positive Organizations, Blog post.

Revised and Reprinted:

Myers, C.G. (2014, October). Finding the positives in your failures. Inc.


“You work with the Center for Positive Organizations, but you’re doing an experiment where you make everyone fail?” This was a reaction I got one day when describing some of my research on how individuals learn from their failed experiences. It was a reasonable question – failure, on its face, doesn’t appear to be something all that positive. Indeed, failures and other adverse events don’t crop up often in the mental picture many people have of a positive organization; usually people imagine a successful, upbeat workplace with bright walls and happy people. Failure and adversity don’t really fit that vision.

Yet, the most positive behaviors are often those that emerge from reactions to adversity.