02 Apr Take Note: The Importance of Failure
School is an important part of any child’s life. Not every child in the world is lucky enough to have access to education though, but for those of us who were fortunate enough to attend school, we can also say that we were fortunate enough to gain some extra knowledge that would help us out as we developed throughout life. We went to school to learn new things. With each new day, we were exposed to information that broadened our minds and expanded possibilities for the future. And school probably would’ve been a little bit more enjoyable for some of us if we were never tested on the information that we learned, but alas that was not the case. Our teachers and professors would hand out an exam at the end of a lesson or chapter so that they could make sure that we were retaining what they had spent the past weeks teaching us.
No one really liked taking exams (unless you were a nerd like me), but they were a necessary part of your education. When we excelled we were happy, but when we failed we definitely were not thrilled.
In school when you failed an exam, you’d naturally become angry or scared or sad or anxious (or some combination of these emotions). You knew that you were supposed to do well on your test, but because you didn’t you knew that there were probably going to be some less than favorable consequences. If this bad grade happened while you were still living under the roof of your parents or guardians, it meant that you were going to be punished. Maybe you couldn’t watch TV until your grades were high again or perhaps it meant that you couldn’t go to the big party at the end of the week that your crush was going to be at because you had to spend that time studying instead. And if your failure came when you were on your own and paying for college or school with your own money then you would probably come to the conclusion that you personally had just flushed down your hard earned cashed down the toilet by failing your test.
Back then when we were in the moment of experiencing that failure, we probably viewed it as a bad thing, but for the positive thinker, failure isn’t a negative experience. It’s a positive one. When you were in school and you failed, you most likely changed something in your life so that you wouldn’t have to experience that failure again. Nobody likes being grounded and nobody likes having their money thrown in the garbage, so we would modify what we were doing with our lives so that we wouldn’t have to experience those negative events again. For many of us that meant that we might have stayed after school with our teacher so that we could get some one on one attention. Or perhaps we might have sought out some help from one of our smarter classmates that had agreed to help us study. We might have resolved to pay better attention to what our teacher or professor was teaching us in class. Maybe it meant that we couldn’t go to that frat party on Thursday night because if we did then we would probably oversleep and miss our 8:00 AM Friday class. Or for some of us, all it might have taken was for us to study some more by ourselves. Whatever it was that we needed to do to pass our next exam we did, simply because we knew that it wouldn’t be a good idea to fail another one.
Positive thinker, failure is a natural part of life. We have all dealt with it before and we will all deal with it again, and again, and again. The thing that we need to remember is that failure doesn’t have to be all bad. When you choose to see your failure as a learning experience, then your experience with failure doesn’t have to be a completely negative one. Yes, failure doesn’t give you a great feeling to begin with, but when you decide that you don’t want to feel like that again and you make a decision to change something in your life so that you don’t have to feel that way again then you’re using your failure in the right way.
Remember positive thinker, “Failure is a prerequisite for learning.”