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Learning from failure

One of my students asked me recently how you can learn from your mistakes. I really enjoyed thinking about this for a while and have come up with a simple, 5 step guideline that I believe will help you turn your failure into a future success!

Transcript:

I’ve been trying to make toast all morning but I just can’t seem to get it right. I’m a total toast failure! What now?

To learn from your mistakes, just follow these four simple steps.

Step 1. Give it a second chance. Is it really a failure or are you just being too hard on yourself? My art teacher once told me “there’s no mistakes in art”. Most of the time you can turn a mistake into a masterpiece just by trying something a little different? (Lets try it with some jam. Yeah, it’s still pretty burnt)

Step 2. Accept the failure. Okay, so your masterpiece didn’t turn out exactly how you imagined it. The mistake’s been made. Don’t throw a tantrum or waste time crying over spilt milk. Accept it and move on. (Toast in the bin)

Step 3. Look for positives. No matter how epically you failed, there is probably something you did right. Take some comfort in the things you did well. (Well, the jam tastes good!). Encouraged and motivated once again, you can now face the next step.

Step 4. Isolate errors. As the saying goes, “Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So, find out where you went wrong so you can improve next time. (Highlight “low heat” in the recipe and turn the knob)

Step 5. Try again! The only way to learn anything is to keep at it. Keep shooting hoops, practicing your scales, painting pictures, whatever it is you want to succeed at. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Use it as an opportunity to find out works works well and what doesn’t.

So next time you fail a test, lose a game or burn your toast, don’t write yourself off as a failure. Instead, dust yourself off and say “Now is a great time to celebrate learning!”


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