Failure: A-pillar to Success

It’s easy when observing other people’s success to think that they are lucky or got it effortlessly. We often focus on the end product and rarely get a chance to hear what didn’t work in the process. This leads us to develop a belief that every effort leads to big successes. Yet, we all know that the pathway to success is paved in failure.

Failure is usually equated to one’s inabilities to achieve their goals or a lack of confidence in one’s self to strive harder. Accepting failure publically or privately can be nerve wreaking – it is unpleasant, puts us in poor light, we have negative feelings of disappointment and frustration, and it is often hard to find the courage to start again.

As parents when our children are going through failure, it stirs panic amongst us. We feel less able to cope with ourselves, let alone allow them to go through the pain. In our efforts to protect them and in turn ourselves, we end up taking away from them a valuable opportunity of learning from their mistakes, stepping out of their comfort zone, being vulnerable, and most importantly managing difficult feelings.

Some of the very famous people known in history have spoken about the lessons failure has taught them. They had ideas that they put into motion, they were rejected and they failed many times, but each time they redirected their energy differently in achieving their goals. They had a growth mindset, which allowed them to believe that they haven’t achieved their purpose just “yet”. In the words of Walt Disney, ‘We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’

So how can you as ADULTS and CAREGIVERS teach your children that it is okay to fail?

  1. Teach your kids to cope with small failures rather than avoid them. This builds resilience and allows them to work failures into successes.
  2. Refrain from protecting your children from low-risk natural consequences. For example, if your child fails to submit homework on time, don’t defend them, rather let them deal with the consequences at school. Allowing children to experience these outcomes teaches them the power of their decisions.
  3. Help your children to see failures as a chance to grow and learn. Talk with them about their mistakes and help them discover ways to do it differently, so that they develop a growth mindset.
  4. Remind them that it is okay to feel negative emotions that come with failure so that they do not give up easily during any adversities.
  5. Genuinely praising your children's efforts will lead to empowering them the right way. For example, 'You tried and gave it your best', 'great perseverance'. It is important to avoid the need to give inflated untrue praise when children haven't done anything.
The Pastoral Team at ABWA has initiated #OwnYourFailure, a week dedicated to understanding that failure is only the 'first attempt in learning' and providing our student's tools to reflect, review and rise again. It is about sharing our own stories with them to tell them that it is okay to fail, face disappointment, push oneself harder to achieve goals, build resilience, celebrate small success and at the same time be able to believe in themselves.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

Image source-Freepix


Delnaz Delina

Delnaz Delina

Counselor - Junior School
Aditya Birla World Academy


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