The importance of failure
17 February 2020
It is important to remember that things don’t always go to plan – we all make mistakes, and realistically, we all occasionally fail.
In this blog we’re going to be looking at something that often isn’t well understood, and is even more regularly forgotten – the importance of failure.
We all know the old adage of ‘learning from our mistakes’ – as a parent, it’s one of the most common phrases we utter around our kids. But isn’t always something we reflect in our day to day lives.
It is really important to remember that failure should never be the enemy. We tend to learn our greatest lessons from our mistakes. Most children will touch a hot stove in their lives, but only once. It is important we don’t succeed every now and then, and that we’re not sheltered from failure, because life is realistically full of it.
We won’t get every job we apply for, date every person we’re interested in, or top every test we take – that is life. We don’t have to like it, but in order to live a happy life we need to acknowledge that it’s true.
It is also really important we don’t fear this type of failure. This is what is commonly referred to as resilience – an acceptance that we won’t always succeed, and a willingness to get back up and try again until we do. Another word for this – ‘grit’ – is often quoted as being one of the best predictors of success in life. People who try and try again are quite simply more likely to succeed because they give it more attempts.
The most important thing to do when kids fail is to tell them it’s okay. It’s okay they didn’t get in the sports team, it’s okay that they didn’t top the OC test, and it’s okay that they didn’t beat a boss in whatever video game they’re playing. They can try again, or if the opportunity has passed, there will be other opportunities to succeed down the track.
Finally, it is important to never be critical when you think they could have done better – rather, we should be constructive with any criticism we provide. Never tell a child they did something wrong without providing them with suggestions about how they could do it better next time – this helps them maintain their self-confidence and resilience, and provides them with avenues that may lead to greater success down the track.
How we can help
Our programs embrace the important lessons failure – and targeted, expert constructive criticism – can provide to students. See what we offer to learn more!