The kind of wall we actually need
All around the world, besides the stage where the speakers share their failure stories, there has been an increasingly common space where assistants can share and experience the cathartic moment when you share your failure, we are talking about the Fuckup Walls.
Without planning it, these resources have become more common at the Fuckup Nights events around the world, slowly turning into a silently spread Fuckupper tradition of the movement.
Some countries have displayed their very own versions of Fuckup Walls and the outcome is quite similar. Maybe it’s inspired by the speakers, or the feeling of a safe space, or maybe it’s just the beer – but lots of fuck ups have been shared at these sometimes simple, and yet very important spaces.
But, what’s a Fuckup Wall? Well, it’s simply a surface where, whether you can paste a note or write on a chalkboard, you share your failure. Big or small, silly or deep, lots of Fuckups have been shared at these simple and yet important spaces.
That’s the magic of the Fuckup Wall. It’s the chance to spit out your failure, leave it there to be seen by others, to feel identified, to realise you’re not the only one that failed, that fucked things up.
And well, it really inspired us at HQ.
We left a note outside our office in the co-working space we operate out of: “Share your fuck up and win a shot of mezcal”, next to post-it notes and a marker. As days went by, slowly, fuck ups started appearing one by one. (Spoiler alert: nobody claimed the prize)
Glad with the results we took our Fuckup Wall to the next level, embarking on the mission of creating two versions of a chalkboard space, one to be shown at a private event, and another one to be displayed at the lobby of a co-working space and the streets of Mexico City.
At the beginning it was hard to break the ice, so we asked our coworking friends to share their failures, and they did, in good faith or because they felt sorry about us. At the end of the day, there was not a single space available to share.
Having a Fuckup Wall at our HQ gave us an insight: People never sign their fuckups. Not a single name or initials. Also, people aren’t fans of writing on a wall when there are others watching – they prefer anonymity.
And that’s how failure works, whether it’s in front of an audience at Fuckup Nights or at a welcoming wall, failure is awkward, failure is shameful.
When was the last time you’ve been honest about your failures with someone?