Why do we fear to fail?
My daughter in second grade is already feeling a little test anxiety, and I tell her that all tests do is see what she has learned and what she hasn’t. Nothing more. I don’t think she believes me. She is already adopting the belief that she should be instantly good at something, or she shouldn’t do it all it, and that makes me sad.
I’m not sure where this idea comes from.
How many times did we fall down before we learn to walk? How many times did we babble before we learned how to talk? Failure is part of learning. We try to do something. It doesn’t work. We try to figure out why it didn’t work, and then we try again applying our new knowledge. This is the process of learning, and yet somewhere between learning to walk and learning to read, my daughter decided that failing was bad. I think we all did.
There are two truths I would like to instill into my daughters.
1. That failure is awesome. You learn and grow and become better through failure than you ever will through success. Embrace your failures and learn from them.
2. If something is really important to you, don’t ever give up. You may never be the best, but you will always get better.
I really think that these two principles are the secret to be successful in anything. Natural talent is great, but it’s not going to help you at all if you don’t buckle down and work hard. And even if you don’t have a natural affinity for something, anything can be learned. Every failure is an opportunity to learn, and success is all about persistence.