Failure is a Great Teacher

failure is a great teacher

Failure is inevitable on the road to success

As parents or teachers, we all want to see children grow up to be successful in life. Sometimes, it’s our mission to help children succeed in everything that they do. However, there’s a growing realisation that children also need to learn to fail and to handle that failure well.

In life, failure is inevitable. To most people, this can be a scary statement. The will to succeed can be so high, it’s hard to handle situations when failure hits. Whether it’s at school, at work, at sport or even in our personal lives, failure can happen.

What matters is how we handle that failure.

If we do not learn to handle failure well, it may lead to depression, anxiety or feelings of shame and embarrassment. The way you handle failure can be the difference between trying out a new sport or not, studying for a test or not, and running a marathon or not.

The thing is, failure doesn’t only affect us at the present moment but can also influence our future decisions.

What does failure teach?

Resilience

Failure teaches lessons in all aspects of life: family, friends, academics, sports, and more. Sometimes, you can even learn more from a failure than a success. For example, a child tries out for the football team and doesn’t get into the team. They have a choice on how to handle that failure. Practice more to try out again next year or give up. Failure can teach the child to persevere and pick themselves up.

Acceptance

Failure happens. Rarely can we change or reverse it. Most times, the only thing we can do is to accept it. It will hurt, it will cause stress and it might even take us off-track. However, it teaches us to accept the fact that it was a failure, learn from it and work to the best of our abilities in the future.

Change

Your children could be planning their university life at this particular university and then they get the rejection letter. Plans change and that’s totally normal. Failure can teach us to accept what’s happened and learn to embrace the change. Another crucial lesson we learn is to adapt to change and re-focus.

Reframing Failure

In society, when someone fails, they can feel a whole lot of negative emotions like shame, hurt, anger or embarrassment. The truth is…no one is perfect. Everyone fails at one time or another. Failure does not have to be looked at as a loss. You can reframe failure as trying, putting yourself out there, or practising.

As the quote by Thomas Edison goes,

“I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

Failure is not an excuse to stop trying. For example, if children think “I’m going to fail anyway, it doesn’t matter”. It’s a great time to teach them to do their best with what they have. To teach them the importance of working hard and persevering even through the negative thoughts.

Failure is a chance for us to stop and ask, “What can we learn from this?” or “Can we change something in the future?” It’s a great time to reflect on what’s happened and how to adapt to the change and try again in the future.

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