A group of colleagues here at The Conversation have been hard at work over recent weeks producing a special series on failure — and it’s a great success. The team wanted to explore why we fail, why we sometimes find it hard to cope when we do and whether it is possible to change our relationship with failure. So why not start your weekend the right way by perusing this curated selection of writing about getting everything wrong?

First, open yourself up to the idea that failure can be turned into something beautiful with this introduction to the Japanese art form kintsugi. The idea is to take something broken, such as a pot or a bowl, and put it back together. Cracks are not hidden but highlighted with gold leaf so that what emerges from the failure is not a lesser version of what was lost but a different object entirely — one that is worthy in its own right.

Now you’ve embraced the concept, you’re ready to implement this three-point guide to coping with failure in your daily life. Then, if you want to get truly ambitious about your shortcomings, you can face the biggest challenge of all — learning to accept your gravest existential failures. This philosopher can help you on your way. Once you’ve read the lot, you’ll be ready to go forth, be bold and really make a mess of things.

Not one to introspect for long enough to consider whether he is at risk of failing, Elon Musk continues to move fast and break everything over at Twitter. His decision to charge users a monthly fee to earn the right to use a “blue tick” verification on their profile has been greeted with eye rolls and groans among those who have previously enjoyed them for free. But as one of our authors pointed out this week, the blue tick is much more than a status symbol for some. Once upon a time, a tick brought special privileges, including safety features that could help users protect themselves from trolling and abuse. Taking away ticks, therefore, is a safety issue if nothing else.

Also this week, this winter’s triple virus threat, the science behind “bulking and cutting” and what happened when scientists tested Einstein’s theory of gravity on the scale of the universe.

Laura Hood

Politics Editor, Assistant Editor

Marco Montalti/Shutterstock

How the Japanese art form of kintsugi can help us navigate failure

Ella Tennant, Keele University

A break or moment of failure can be an opportunity to create something new and beautiful.

Resilience can be built in a variety of ways. fizkes/ Shutterstock

Three ways to become more resilient to failure

Lowri Dowthwaite-Walsh, University of Central Lancashire

Learning to be resilient can help you cope with failure and get past setbacks more quickly in the future.


Philosophy can help us deal with failures that seem insurmountable

Jonathan Mitchell, Cardiff University

What can you do when you feel like a failure for giving up on a dream?

Collection Christophel/Alamy

How early failure can lead to success later in creative careers

Stephen Langston, University of the West of Scotland

Not everyone succeeds straight away and how you deal with failure can really make or break your career.

Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

COVID, flu, RSV – how this triple threat of respiratory viruses could collide this winter

Adam Kleczkowski, University of Strathclyde

Cases of seasonal diseases may be higher due to a lack of exposure during the pandemic. Here are four graphs which give us some clues as to how things might play out.

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