On Failure and Coffee


Beth Garrison, CEO

I made a huge mistake this morning while brewing my coffee.  I was brewing using my French Press, and forgot to set the time while the grounds were steeping.  Unfortunately, I got caught up in something, and realized 10 minutes later that the coffee I made had been steeping.  I plunged and poured, and what resulted was an extremely bitter brew that no amount of Stevia could sweeten.  I dumped and started fresh.

This experience got me thinking about failures in life.  Even after almost 17 years of brewing daily coffee and mastering several brewing methods, I still fail sometimes at brewing the perfect cup (or at least the cup that I feel is "perfect").  However, it is what happens after we experience the consequences of failure than determines whether or not we change our behavior.  In behavior analysis, these consequences become part of our learning history.  

Most times, failures lead to better things.  Though in the moment, they are bitter like the coffee I made this morning, the brew I made after was a really great cup of coffee.  I remembered to set my timer while brewing, and went on with my day.  There are many instances in my life I can think of that what I perceived was a failure at the time, but because I experienced it, I learned from the mistake, and moved on to a better experience.  

Ultimately, not everything is perfect, and we should not put pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  We are always learning and developing, and part of that development is experiencing failure and mistakes.  We shouldn't be fearful of them, but should embrace them, celebrate them, and move forward.

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