International Day for Failure: seeking ways to live with fear of failure

Government Communications Department
11.10.2017 12.43 | Published in English on 12.10.2017 at 10.11
Press release 459/2017

Friday, 13 October 2017, is the International Day for Failure. The Experimental Finland team of the Prime Minister’s Office is organising the event Herozerohero where people can openly talk about their personal view on success and failure.

As the title of the event suggests, no one is a hero or a zero all the time. Instead, we are always moving between these two poles. Getting stuck in either extreme creates problems.

“Fear of failure is one of the key factors blocking us from trying out and taking in new creative solutions. If we genuinely want to experiment with new ideas, we cannot always know beforehand the outcomes. This means that at some point we will fail, and then we can learn from our failures. Tolerating failure and living with the fear of failure are essential skills in all development work,” says Ira Alanko, Project Manager of Experimental Finland at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Speakers at the event are writer Sirpa Kähkönen, CEO of Finlayson Jukka Kurttila, activist and conservationist Sini Harkki, actor, director and scriptwriter Anna Paavilainen, Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen, and Director of the Helsinki City Theatre and Kari Arffman. Brain researcher Katri Saarikivi will be commenting on the addresses. Video messages from the Finnish Cultural Institutes in Estonia, Japan and the United Kingdom give perspective on how people outside Finland feel about the fear of failure.

Jukka Kurttila, one of the boldest business leaders in Finland, admits on the event trailer that as the CEO of Finlayson he, too, has been guided by fear. He has been afraid of failure, of other people’s reactions and of destroying a long-standing company and its brand, and he has been fairly alone with his fears. Nothing removes the unpleasant feeling of failure or the daunting feeling of doing things you are afraid of, says Katri Saarikivi, who has studied empathy and interaction. Instead, we need to learn how to tolerate these feelings.

The International Day for Failure event is held in Studio Elsa at the Helsinki City Theatre, starting at 14.00. The event is open to all who have registered in advance. Registration is open until 12 October, or as long as there are seats available.

Inquiries: Ira Alanko, Project Manager, tel. +358 295 160028, ira.alanko(at), and Lyydia Aarninsalo, Coordinator, tel. +358 295 160232, lyydia.aarninsalo(at), Prime Minister’s Office

More information about the event and all the event trailers

Anu Vehviläinen
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