Fail Forward

Fail Forward Week (October 9-13, 2023)

Everyone fails at something.  Most of us fail quite frequently. The good news is that failure is the way the human brain learns best.  Through failure, we identify and focus on areas where we can improve. Failure encourages us to find new approaches to something and to change things. It invokes creativity and new thought patterns. We learn and grow from our failures.

Fail Forward Week is a time to stop and reflect on the positive outcomes of failure and the necessity of failure in life. The challenge is not whether you can manage never to fail — you will fail at something — but how you respond to your failures.


When asked about failure, the prolific 20th C Irish author Samuel Beckett said: “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Join us in celebrating our failures and finding ways to fail forward!

UCA hereby presents a Certificate of Failure



Fail Forward Week Activities

This week offers a lot of ways for you to plan to fail forward!  Check out all of the activities and opportunities below.


Recently, other successful people have spoken on the importance of failure, often (and ironically) at college graduation ceremonies (click on their name to see the full video):

Denzel Washington

“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. . . [but] If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks

The CEO talks about his working-class background and how the famous coffee chain almost failed due to its own success.

(Oprah and others)

Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Julie Andrews, and Michelle Obama all know that success takes fails.

Check out more resources on how failure can be a positive step forward!

Resources on Learning from Failure, on Edutopia  (articles for instructors and activities)

“Teaching to Fail”

“Why Failure is Good for Success”

“If You Have to Fail — and You Do — Fail Forward”

“7 Reasons Why Failure is a Good Thing”

Fail Forward Week at UCA is sponsored by: The Office of Student Success, Learning Communities, the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, and the Department of Student Transitions.