We have been talking a lot about Failure as part of our 21st Century Skills. It is an interesting subject because of the power it has over us. Failure, and perhaps even worse, the fear of failure, often holds us back. It prevents us from becoming all we can be.
As I think about my life and the many failures I have encountered, it is because of those failures that I have pushed myself to grow, change and become a different person. Failures force you to dive deep into your own abyss and make different choices about who you are and the life you lead.
Failure hits all of us, it is absolutely inevitable. It is a close cousin is fear of failure. It seems to me that this cousin has more power over us because it involves more choice on our part. We can choose to live a cautious life in order to avoid this fear. Perhaps even take the familiar path, though the other is calling out our name.
In my life, I have been blessed with enough failures that my fear of failure has diminished. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like it, but deep in my heart I know I can overcome these setbacks because historically, I have. The question for me is, “What would my life have been like if I learned this lesson earlier? What choices would have been different?”
My hope is that we can teach our children that failure is simply a step towards success. It is a moment to pause and reflect on what we could do differently, and ultimately how we can be different.
We have been so excited this year to watch our CGA students in the SmartLab as we teach them to stretch and teach them to celebrate the failures which may come. Our sweet children have made comments like “Oh no, I didn’t fail today!” or “Messing up means I am learning”. We have watched this teaching spill over into other classrooms and have been thrilled to see the results.
Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Let’s all celebrate the learning that happens through failure and the improvements in self and the world around us that failure can bring.
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