William Liao

April 7, 2021

A toast to my 'failures'

Dear ‘failures’,

You really upset me when I first met you.

I mean really upset: frustration, anger, sadness, powerlessness, and all.

But as time went on, I had the opportunity to process: the subsiding of the initial storm of emotions gave me space to wonder openly about how I might be able understand you differently.

The first thing I’ve learned to recognize is that you’re actually full of wisdom: our encounters almost always leave bread crumbs of learnings about what to do and what not to do in the future.

And then it suddenly hit me, like a true aha! moment, what you’re really about:

You are the pain that kicks in during a hard workout at the gym.

You are the frustration that kicks in when someone is trying to solve a difficult problem.

I may not appreciate our encounters in the same way I do when I drink a fresh cup of coffee or go for a walk on the beach, but I appreciate you deeply nonetheless because you’ve always helped me grow into the best possible version of myself as a friend, a son, a colleague, and a member of humanity.

And about the name ‘failure’ — I made sure to put you in quotation marks at the beginning of this note because, let’s be real, you’ve never failed me.

In reality, you’ve been quite the opposite and for that, I thank you.