Andy Borowitz on how to be a successful failure

Author: CBS Sunday Morning
Published: Updated:
Andy Borowitz on how to be a successful failure. (Credit: CBS Sunday Morning)
Andy Borowitz on how to be a successful failure. (Credit: CBS Sunday Morning)

Do you feel like a loser? Do your friends’ Facebook posts make you wonder why they have better jobs, vacations and children than you do? Then I have some amazing news for you: It’s time to embrace your failure. Cherish your failure. Because according to some of the hottest self-help books, failure is the new success.

The idea behind these books is simple: Failure is like kale – horrible, but good for you.

Let’s take a look at some books that should be in everyone’s personal failure library. There’s “The Art of Failure,” “The Value of Failure,” “The Wisdom of Failure,” “Fueled by Failure,” and “Failing Forward.”

Did you honestly think you could fail without the help of a book? If so, you have been failing at failing. These books will help you be the best failure you can be.

Now, let’s say you really want to fail, but you can’t afford all these books. The helpful people at TED Talks will teach you to fail for free!

Watching TED Talks is like stepping into a magical theme park of failure.

Speakers offer such nuggets of insight as, “Don’t fail fast – fail mindfully”“The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure”; and “The fringe benefits of failure.”

That last talk is by J.K. Rowling. I’m not sure I want failure tips from someone who’s sold 500 million “Harry Potter” books, but whatever.

Which brings me to the point of this whole exercise in failure. I don’t need books or TED Talks to learn how to fail. I’ve already hit the failure mother lode: since the age of 10, I’ve been a fan of the Cleveland Browns. In the past 20 years, the Browns have had 18 losing seasons. That’s an enviable ninety-percent failure rate. After the 2016 season, their coach said that if the team lost all their games he would jump into Lake Erie. They did; he jumped; and then he was fired. No book can teach you to fail like that.

Whenever I find myself in danger of succeeding, I just ask myself: “What would the Browns do?”

But in the pursuit of failure, nothing’s as easy as it seems. This season, the Browns have done the unthinkable: they’re actually in first place in their division! Some people even think that their new quarterback, Baker Mayfield, could someday lead them to the Super Bowl. Now that failure is finally cool, it’s just like the Browns to screw that up.

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