Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Fail

Do you seek failure? Do you go out and try even though you know you might flop on your face? Or do you have analysis paralysis? Always researching, evaluating and really the numbers but never actually DOING the thing? Does a fear of failure prevent you from trying? Or does it propel you forward with gusto? 

Did you know it is GREAT to fail?! Not only does it mean you are trying and going after something but it means you are learning!! Every failure is a chance to learn and become better. We cannot grow and become more if we are not willing to put ourselves out there and try.

Learn from failure. Failure is fertilizer. 

Learn to grow from failures

I have heard a great quote that said, ‘In order to increase your rate of success, you must increase your rate of failure.’ BOOM!! Fear of failure gone and instead embraced! You might also have heard it as “Go for No.” Try to get as many people to tell you no on your plan or whatever you want them to do.

For example, one day I went to Main Street to ask a local shop to sell on consignment with me. They were closed. Rather than just saying, Oh well. I decided to ‘go for no’ and increase my rate of failure. I figured I would try asking other people and practice on asking them before asking my target shop. The worst they could do is say no, and then I would have that much more experience and it would help me toughen my skin. I asked five other shops and got a YES!! And guess what? My target shop said no. So if I had just stuck to the one, I wouldn’t have found the one yes!

So get over your fear of failure and instead start being more afraid of not trying because in the end that is worse than failing because you are no better off. At least with failing you have learned lessons and gained experience. Read more here

Experience teaches more

While reading a Well Educated Heart suggested book, Buz, of the Life and Adventures of a Honey Bee, out loud with the children, one of the mentor bees teaches the newly hatched bee that she is about to meet someone that will teach her more in a day than anyone could teach in a week. Know what it is? Experience! All the YouTube videos and books in the world can only teach you so much so quickly. But going out and DOING those things will teach you far more and a lot faster. And I bet you will remember the lesson better too.

Quality versus Quantity

Actually do the work to learn

A similar test has been done well before the one described in Atomic Habits. I had read it years ago with a pottery class. I was thrilled to read of another one done in the book because I could never find where I had read it before and now this one is now more well known. James Clear tells of a photography class that was split in half and one was graded solely on the number of photos submitted and the other was graded on only one, though it had to be nearly perfect. To the surprise of the teacher the quantity group was the ones that turned in the best photos. They were spending their time failing and trying and learning in the process. By taking away the fear of failing they were free to try and get messy and therefore get better.

It was the quality group that spent all of their time thinking and analyzing what would be best and not willing to DO the work and failing and trying that ultimately failed. So which is really more of failing? Trying and learning or not doing and not growing?

Action versus Motion

Clear goes on to explain from the previous story that when we are in motion we FEEL like we are taking action but in reality we and not making true progress. Motion is the pondering, researching and analyzing. But once we start to actually DO what we are thinking about then are we truly moving the needle forward and making progress. Yes, there is a time for researching. What resources should we use to do math this year? Doing Blank Page Mentoring for each child. But then be sure to actually implement what you decide and take action. It is only then that you learn what works. Not from the planning.

Take them as opportunities to learn

So, throw spaghetti on the wall. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Do we need to read aloud first thing in the morning or before bed? Should we go on our nature explore after lunch or take it with us? Should I play piano or paint? In fact, once you decide on something then keep going and FAIL all over the place!! Paint terrible pictures, lots of them. Crank out tons of terrible blog posts (I guess I am speaking more to myself on this one).  

Mentor your children through theirs

This is a great opportunity to work with your children also. You can talk about your failures or successes and what made them so. Let them see you not give up but to keep trying. Allow them to also go after goals and fail and then talk with them after to help them work through the process also.

Allow for risks to learn

It can be scary to watch your children fail. Maybe you have come to terms with your trying and failing but it can be painful to see your little one try so hard and not make it. But this not only helps them to learn how to do that thing better, whether it is math or painting or piano, it also builds resilience and grit which will serve them far greater in life than that one skill they are learning.

If you change your mindset about failure and how you talk about it then the children will learn that failure is not a bad thing but something to be celebrated. We are learning! So praise the effort put in, not the outcome so much. “I see you are really focused on that painting.” “I can tell you have been working hard on practicing the piano, you are getting better.”

Let them get messy. Let them learn. Then you get to teach them to clean up after so they learn another skill! Bonus!

Let Children get messy to learn

What went well and what can we do better?

But as a caveat, you need to also be evaluating. What is working and what is not? What went well and how can you do it again? Don’t leave out the after action review. THIS is where and how we get better. Don’t just blindly go making mistakes willy-nilly. Be strategic.

Celebrate with them as you discuss the lessons learned. Remember, it doesn’t really help to go over what went wrong, you know that and they know that, so don’t give it much space. Focus on the lesson and how you can do better next time and set yourself up for success for next time.  

How can you be more prepared in the future? How could I have handled this better? What will I do this differently next time? Something where you can have a redo in your mind so you are better equip the next time around. Don’t stay in beating yourself up but learn from it and move on. This is where you learn from your failures so they are the fertilizer to growth.

So don’t be afraid to fail! Embrace it as an opportunity for growth and becoming better! Experience life, the greatest teacher. Crank out those experiences and get better faster by doing more than you research. And help and allow your children to do the same. Review what you learned and be prepared for the future. Be excited! Life is worth living to the fullest, not in fear of messing up. You will! So do it sooner and get farther.

Author Mary H.K. Choi said “It doesn’t get any less scary. All that happens is that you have less life left. It helps if you do your falling early, and it really helps if you do your reaching early.”

Source: ​ILY Magazine

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