Harvey Deutschendorf asks an interesting question in a new Fast Company article: Why do successful people enjoy celebrating their failures? He argues that our culture has created a mystique around failure. Success comes from hard work, from perseverance, from not giving up even when you stumble. Of course, success can, in part, also be attributed to good fortune, a combination of the right circumstances at the right time. Success can derive from having the right team coming together to collaborate with and support you. However, we don't want others to underestimate the effort required to succeed. We don't want them to attribute our successes to luck. Thus, we enjoy telling the tales of our struggles, of the failures that we had to overcome in order to achieve the ultimate positive result.
There's nothing wrong with this attitude actually. In fact, reminding others of the importance of learning from failure is beneficial. Moreover, it's useful to encourage others to experiment, and to accept that failure is part of the innovation process. The only downside of such stories emerges if we underestimate the role of others in our success, as well as the role of circumstances and other environmental factors. If we begin to believe that success is all about us, then we may be setting ourselves up for future failures.