“Failure if success in-progress” Albert Einstein and “We learn from failure, not from success” Bram Stoker
I’m the teacher’s kid, and my mother was a perfectionist. I experience failure at a very early age. I was doing my first year at school, I was five years old, and my mother made me repeat the class. She was convinced I failed since I passed as number 95 out of 100 students in the class. This was my first taste of failure, and it was painful seeing my friends go to the next grade. The 2nd taste of failure was two years later when I was doing my grade 2. I had to change schools due to political violence, and I joined the new school late, resulting to my 2nd taste failure in grade 2. In both failures, I learned that failure is success in progress.
Susan Fishman wrote an article on 4 Lessons to Draw From Failure. If you’re human, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced failure at some point in your life. It pretty much comes with the territory. Accepting that failure is inevitable is one thing. Learning from failure and moving past it is another — especially when the failure is fresh. For many, learning from a failure takes time and perspective. But when we can look at our failures from a place of curiosity, they can be our greatest teachers, says clinical psychologist Dr Shauna Pollard. The article introduced four lessons from failure:
1. Emotional intelligence (EQ)
Failing comes with a range of emotions. When you fail, you might feel:
- guilty for letting people down
- relieved you don’t have to complete such a big task anymore
- nervous to have to try again
- anxious, or have anticipation about the future and what it might mean to try again
- ashamed for failing, especially if you feel pressure from friends or family to succeed
- disappointed in yourself because you had higher expectations for yourself
- grateful that you had the experience and to be able to learn from it
Failures can bring a greater sense of emotional awareness. You might have felt sad, or the many emotions that come with failure, for a long time, explains Katie Ziskind, marriage and family therapist and trauma specialist in Niantic, Connecticut. “It might also help you develop a sense of self-love,” Ziskand adds, as you might need to listen and respond compassionately to yourself or perhaps manage unrealistic expectations.
When you fail, most folks often have to ask for help, which can be a lesson in humility and an opportunity to grow on an interpersonal level. A 2020 studyTrusted Source of full-time employees found that intrinsic motivation and self-determination predict learning from failures. This in turn, leads to enhanced self-development. The research found a combination of internal motivation and determination means employees who are more dedicated to their jobs and get satisfaction from learning new skills are more likely to utilize feedback from failures to improve their performance and productivity. The study also found that managers can help employees learn from failure through caring and compassionate leadership.
“It can be cathartic to fail because it puts you in a humble position, at the bottom of the ladder,” notes Ziskand, “where you can embrace a beginner’s mindset. Realizing you don’t know much, or need help from a teacher to learn more about a given area or skill set, can be helpful for growing humility.”
Failing can teach you how to bounce back. It could help you discover you won’t fall apart. You have what it takes to get back up and go at it again. These sentiments are fruits of resilence. Recognizing when you are failing and picking yourself up from there is a crucial skill in overcoming the failure itself,” says Ziskind.
In her book, “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston who studies courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, talks about the importance of learning from failure at a young age.
To overcome failure, it’s essential to understand that it’s a part of being human, notes Ziskind. “A failure can make you want to quit and can paralyze some people,” she notes. Failure presents an opportunity to develop and practice the skill of emotional resiliency.
A typical response to failure is self-blame or an attempt to gain something positive from experience. But it’s important to approach failure with empathy, giving yourself the understanding that it’s OK to fail. You can learn to accept setbacks by reminding yourself that life is messy, and you are not meant to be perfect. It’s important to separate failure as a process from how we view ourselves as individuals, adds Pollard, who works on reframing with many of her clients. “We are not failures, even though we may have failed at a task,” she notes.
The 4 Lessons of failure illustrate the deeper meaning of the word F.A.I.L – Future Acquiring Important Lessons.
Future – is an outcome of our past failures that taught us an important lesson about life and developed the emotional intelligence required in life.
Acquiring – is the way of finding the solution and teaching you how to bounce back. It could help you discover you won’t fall apart. You have what it takes to get back up and go at it again. These sentiments are fruits of resilience.
Important – is the significant lesson of humility. Realizing you don’t know much, or need help from a teacher to learn more about a given area or skill set, can be helpful for growing humility.
Lesson – A period of learning. A typical response to failure is self-blame or an attempt to gain something positive from experience. But it’s important to approach failure with empathy, giving yourself the understanding that it’s OK to fail. You can learn to accept setbacks by reminding yourself that life is messy, and you are not meant to be perfect.