A business executive recently said in an interview that “You’ve heard this a million times before: The only way to fail is to not fail, because otherwise you’re not taking risks. You’re not getting better. You’re just doing the things that you know will work. Now, the difference is that you really want people who learn from their mistakes.”. Get that? ” The only way to fail is to not fail” : which means that failing is the key to success.
So why do our conventional schools not understand that? In schools it’s all about the “one right answer”. Red marks on your paper are an embarrassment: a sign of wrong answers – failure. To be avoided. Students “learn” to regurgitate and not take risks. Like I said in my previous post, how you go about “teaching” conveys a great deal about what you will actually convey – the process is inherent in the message.
We need to embrace failure as the necessary road to success, to achievement. There’s truly no other way there. Avoid failure and you avoid success – now that’s not what schools teach students, not the conventional ones.
Tied up in this are parenting styles that endeavor to “protect” children from disappointment, helicopter parents and any parenting that amounts to “making sure it all works out”. How will our children learn to cope, to persevere, to manage disappointment, if they aren’t allowed and encouraged to fail? I’ve written about that here too.