Courage. Bit of an old-fashioned word, now, perhaps. Sort of thing which might have been-in Latin, of course-on an English school boy's blazer way back when the people who checked your passports were courteous at all times and friends were actually good chums. But a worthy word as it's what we need when times are tough: sales are down, college rejections are high and we can't even find an agent who will talk to us never mind get anyone to consider our manuscript. We need courage to help us with failure. There: we've said it. Failure which is often harder to drop into a conversation than the term explicit sex. But we do need failure. Not failure the result: losing the business, losing the girl, failing the interview. But failure the process: learning, improving, iterating, removing slack, becoming lean, becoming fighting-fit, installing effectiveness, developing wired-in muscle memory, just knowing, getting really really good, broadening, widening, gaining wisdom, picking yourself up and smiling and trying once again. Yeah, that. The whole process requires lots and lots of crappy failure. And we don't like it: we want approval, we want love, we want accolades. But hang on a minute: no, you don't. You really want to grow, you really want to discover who the heck you are, you really want to see just what your limits are. You want to start creating your personal greatest works. And you do all of that by failing. Repeatedly. With tears at times. With jeers at others. But stay in the game. The right girl is quietly noting you. The rumours are reaching that elusive agent. Quarter 4 target was a bit of a breeze; just don't tell HQ in California. The thing is you will fail at whatever you try to be good at, be it juggling (balls will drop) to blogging (posts will bore) to interviews (CVs will fail to impress) to start up pitches (we've heard it all before). But from failure you will learn so much more, so much more than success. You really do need courage to stay in the game. It'll be worth it when you get a real score, a real success. Fail enough and you will get what you want and you will become free. Plus you will get the girl who wants to hang out with a grown-up. Not a kid in a wannabee T-shirt.