Why failure is a great teacher?
It teaches us about ourselves.
When we fail, we learn things about ourselves that we would never have known otherwise. We learn what we are good at, and what we need to work on. This self-knowledge is invaluable, and it can help us to be our best selves. Thus, it is important that we fail and learn and move on to grow in life.
Covid 19 changed many lives, including mine. With time at hand and work reduced to the minimum, I came across a post on Facebook about a music academy teaching music – classical & Bollywood. I thought, why not try this? It looked promising…but I thought only children can learn whereas adults can only teach. I was apprehensive, what if I cannot learn (read fail) and everybody comes to know about it?
Self-admittedly, I had faced minimal failure in life which had made me slightly complacent. Here, I was afraid of failure. I discussed my plan with my mother. Her reaction was: Arre kuch aur seekh le, music, woh bhi classical, not your cup of tea. You can’t sing a song properly, better stick to something related to writing.”
Now, I was confused…still went ahead and took admission.
My musical journey started. In the beginning, I faced a lot of rejection and dejection and thought of quitting but somehow continued and today I am singing well and adding to the pride of my family. My mother today is the biggest fan of my singing. She is glad that for once I have proven her wrong.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” —Robert F.
Had I not tried, I would not have achieved what I have.
Another aspect, because we fear failure, is that we want to be perfectionists. I am the one who is having such perfectionist tendencies, I do not like doing anything for mediocre results, I like outstanding results. It does not happen all the time.
At a time when I was nearly giving up on my singing journey, I shared my decision with my dear friend, Ms. Smita Mehta, who is a famous Tarot Card Reader. She threw a sixer at me, who said, “You are Sachin Tendulkar in writing, but you will become Lata Mangeshkar in singing, that is not going to happen. Don’t give up without trying your best, you will reach somewhere.” How right she was!
Failure happens, it’s not optional. But as put appropriately by Zig Zagler, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce those counts.”
I repeatedly hear from people that they are afraid to fail, even though failure is the best teacher. They fear what others will think about them if they fumble toward their goals. They’re afraid to endure the pain of falling short, making fears their reality.
Little do they know that “Failure is the best teacher.”
They stop short of realizing their goals or, worse; they don’t take action. I certainly have feared failure. And my fear has paralyzed me. If you have experienced this, you know how much it sucks. But failure should teach us instead of paralyzing us.
Perfectionists struggle to understand that failure is the best teacher. At their core, perfectionists never feel good enough. When they realize they have made a mistake, it’s enough to take them down a spiral of self-criticism and shame. Often, this stops perfectionists from doing anything at all.
But failure should teach us instead of paralyzing us.
Sometimes the fear of failure is rooted in perfectionist tendencies. You can change your perfectionist tendencies by embracing your limitations and failures. This is not a simple thing to do. It takes ongoing patience, but it can be learned.
Do you like me constantly trying to make everything polished and perfect? Does everyone think you’re amazing—all the time? It can be an addictive and wonderful feeling, but there are better ones. Like what? Try being liked for who you really are! Instead of perfection, aim for genuine.
This will help you feel more grounded and capable of accepting failures and successes alike.
It is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you are screwing up, let yourself screw up. It can even be fun. Make a point of not taking yourself too seriously.
Enjoy yourself, friend!
Remember your mistakes are opportunities in disguise. There is something to be gained from every instance of failure. How can you turn the coal of your moment into a diamond? Take them as an opportunity to learn.
You need to give credit to and enjoy your strengths and limitations. A funny thing happens when you embrace your strengths or limitations—you can better embrace its opposite.
So, be happy ho that you failed and start afresh!