The Power of Failure

fail nametagWhen the same message comes at me from several directions, I figure it’s time to pay attention.

The bombardment started with a sticker we were required to wear at a coaches’ training class. It wore a single four-letter word: FAIL. Not only were we told it was OK to fail. We were encouraged to fail and learn from it. Never failing meant never getting outside our comfort zones, never taking a chance on intuition. For each failure, we were rewarded with a chicken scratch on the sticker. I got a few.

Round 2 came in a sermon, in which the pastor suggested erasers might be a good symbol to keep around. Without failure, he said, there was no learning. The eraser meant we could keep going and trying, learning from our mistakes.

The final round came via my current book of choice: Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, PhD. In it, the author acknowledges that failure causes all of us to become “momentarily helpless,” but that in optimists the helplessness does not persist. Another good reason to view failure as an opportunity to learn.

If wisdom comes in 3’s, the message is clear. If the dog eats your planner and it feels like a failure, one question to ask is “Yeah, but what did I learn from it?”

What have you failed at recently? What did you learn from it?

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One Response to “The Power of Failure”

  1. herbs and spices Says:

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