Nobody likes to fail. We all know how it feels – it's a disappointing experience that can leave us feeling extremely discouraged. However, we also recognize that failure is often a good thing because we can learn from our mistakes, perhaps helping us to succeed next time. It's important to teach your kids this same mentality. Here's some reasons why teaching your child to accept failure gracefully can be a good thing:
1) Failure teaches us to not be so hard on ourselves. When we fail at something, it doesn't feel good. However, we all have to learn to pick ourselves up, step back from the situation, and not be so hard on ourselves. Kicking yourself for your mistakes doesn't help anything, and neither does self-pity. In many ways, failure teaches us to take defeat in stride and learn to keep moving.
2) Recognizing our mistakes helps us improve. As Thomas Edison said about his many unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” In other words, when we make a mistake we learn what not to do, as well as what to do differently next time. It's important that our kids understand mistakes should be seen positively, because they teach us how to do better and make improvements.
3) Realizing that everyone has different strengths is important. Let's say in gym class today, there was a basketball free-throw contest. Your child scored dead last. Does that mean they should just give up on athletics? Of course not! However, experiences like this teach us that not everyone is cut out for something. Maybe you're just not great at basketball – and there's nothing wrong with that! Surely there's another hobby or sport that you're naturally talented at. Through failure and disappointment, our true strengths are often revealed.
4) Losing teaches us to accept defeat with grace. As the old saying goes, “Nobody likes a sore loser.” Losing teaches us good sportsmanship and how to accept defeat with grace. Any Olympic medalist that wins bronze or silver shouldn't hold resent for the first place winner – instead, they congratulate themselves and their opponent on a job well done, and start training harder, now even more motivated to get the gold medal next time!
5) Failure can motivate us even further. Failure teaches us to persevere. Sometimes we're just not good at something, and as we said before, that's perfectly fine! Other times, failure can teach us not to give up and try even harder. Instead of throwing in the towel, failing can sometimes motivate us to keep trying, and do it again. In many cases, practice and perseverance are ultimately what leads to success!
6) We learn that life isn't always fair. Maybe you were the most qualified person at the job interview and gave all the best responses, but for some reason another candidate got the job. You can't really explain why – you did everything right, you showed up early, and you even had a nice chat with the manager before the interview. Well, life isn't fair! Unfortunately, there's many factors that may not be visible to us at surface level, and sometimes things just don't work out the way we want. Failure, or rejection for that matter, teaches us that sometimes we get dealt a bad hand – and that's okay. It's a part of life, and we just need to learn to accept that. When life doesn't go our way, we should pick ourselves up and keep trying!
When it comes down to it, failure is good. It's a part of life, and it's healthy to learn to deal with disappointing experiences in a mature way. Most importantly, our failures and mistakes always bring us one step closer to success. We'll leave you with one more quote from Thomas Edison: “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”