“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling
I am surprised by the number of people ashamed when they fail, believing that success is the only win. Failure is part of success. At times, it plays the principal role in success.
When I taught adult students many believed an “A” was the only success and they could not see the knowledge as the win. A question missed is an opportunity to grow. At the beginning of each quarter, I explained to students that a “C” grade should be considered the norm (Bell Curve and all). Research shows that “B” and “C” students typically are more successful as adults. Yet it remained every student’s goal to receive an “A” with little focus on gaining knowledge.
Even common childhood events are stripped of failure. Starter bikes allow children to sit low and push along with their feet learning to balance as they go. Eventually, they transition to a two-wheeler with little struggle and off they go. The problem is not that they have success, nor that they learn to ride a bike with no bumps or bruises. The problem is they do not learn to fail, to fall over, to get back up and try again. Even small tasks like tying shoes is an immediate success with Velcro.
We see it in sports when the crowd and athletes believe winning is the only gain from a game. Seldom do we hear “it was a great game.” Crowds leaving often blaming the other team for cheating, the refs for being on the take, the team players for being lazy or stupid. I can only imagine the locker room banter, but I doubt it has anything to do with learning from failure, gaining from losing, or admitting a better team won.
One can learn from failing, but it is difficult to learn from easy success. When success becomes the norm, the expectation, then what happens when an individual fails? They will fail. We all fail throughout life. To grow you must learn from both failures and successes. You must be willing to look at the event through rational eyes rather than emotional eyes. This week, make your affirmation “When I fail, I will use the knowledge I gain to gather success in the future.”