Learning the value of failure

Over the last few weeks I’ve been having some fascinating conversations about the importance of schools teaching young people – as early as age five – to see the positives of experiencing failure.

My dad has always been a great believer that we learn more from failure than we do from success. It’s only by challenging ourselves (no matter our age) and accepting that to fail is just a part of life and a great way to learn, that we can go on to achieve great things.

There’s a funny story that sums up his attitude perfectly...

When I was 17 years old I took my driving test and thankfully, passed first time. As you can imagine, I was beaming with pride and couldn’t wait to tell my parents – especially when Dad had given me my first ever lesson.

But when I called Dad to tell him the news, his reaction wasn’t quite what I’d expected! “Uhmmm Holly, really? That’s disappointing news. I was so hoping you would fail. I know you study hard and love school but it’s about time you failed at some thing or you’re never going to learn anything valuable about life.”

I didn’t realise it at the time, but he was completely right. In the last two decades, I have learned and grown far more from the things that didn’t quite go the way I hoped or expected, than from those that were great successes. The earlier we learn to embrace failure as a positive rather than a negative, the healthier and happier we’ll be.

What's the most valuable thing you've learned through failure?


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