Learning from Failure


It’s important to remember that failure is never final. No one is exempt from failure. No one can escape it. It can happen in everything. But that doesn’t matter. That’s not important. The important part is not to be afraid of it. It’s an inescapable part of life. And the sooner you learn how to handle it, the better. A worthwhile motto to keep in mind is: “it doesn’t matter how many times you fall. What matters is how many times you stand back up”. So how can you learn this crucial outlook? Let us take a deeper look.


Take for example results day. Results day for GCSEs and Alevels is never easy. It’s a day filled with anguish and excitements. The anticipation has been building for months, if not longer. We also think that so much is riding on these results. They seem to determine the fate of each student, to an uncomfortable level. For some students the results will be a success, and they will be on to the next expected life stage. However, for others, for those who didn’t get the desired results, results day will be a challenging and difficult time.


So then how can we learn from failure even when it seems like our world is coming to an end? When all hope seems lost? Check out these next 5 and try using them next time you feel that you didn’t reach a goal.


Insight One: Stand Back Up. If failure happens to everyone, then it doesn’t matter if you failed but how you dealt with it. The more you get used to standing back up after you fall, the stronger you will be and the more resilience you will have. You may not always deal with it well, and setbacks sometimes do take a while to recover from. But once you get over the disappointment, you can begin to build yourself back up, stronger and wiser.


Insight Two: Learn from Mistake. As the Harvard article Strategies for Learning from Failure starts off “the wisdom of learning from failure is incontrovertible”. Most of us will learn to associate failure with blame and guilt. As the article continues: “failure and fault are virtually inseparable in most households, organizations, and cultures. Every child learns at some point that admitting failure means taking the blame”. So, a key lesson to remember is not to let failure get in the way of learning from the experience. The focus shouldn’t be about the pain of failing, but about trying not to repeat the same mistakes.



Insight Three: Reflect. Taking time to reflect on what happened and why things didn’t go according to plan is important. But then taking the time to figure out how you can move forward from here is equally is important. Failure will certainly mean something didn’t go according to plan. Therefore, your next step may no longer be clear. However, the road doesn’t stop. It simply changes directions, maybe only slightly and maybe for the best. As the Inner Drive blog The Best Way to Fail puts it “So if failure is inevitable at some stage, then those who can learn to fail better have a significant competitive advantage. This can be done by having a calm and consistent debrief after the event”. So why not give it a go next time something doesn’t go according to plan?



Insight Four: Create Space to Explore. Exploring and taking risks sound good in theory, but often mean that there is a great deal of uncertainty involved. This means that whatever task or challenge we are about to attempt may indeed fail. Because it’s something new, there will be a great deal of learning involved. And therefore, the risk of not getting it right immediately is high. But your life will certainly be enriched when you allow yourself to take risks and try new things. Sometimes, the important lesson of a failure will be to keep trying until you succeed, like getting your dream job or a top exam result. But sometimes a failure will be an indication that you aren’t on the best path, and that challenge may put you in an even better direction. Which brings us to our final point.


Insight Five: New Path May Be Better. You may have failed at something. But there may be a reason you did and your final outcome may be even better. For example, if you were planning on going into medicine but aren’t getting the grades you need, you may shift your focus to something else that comes to you more naturally. For example, you may spend more time writing and reading, and realise that you are particularly skilled at English. Your life trajectory may then drastically change, but for the better as you will now be working toward an education and career that suits you and highlights your incredible skills.


The point of this blog is to help you realise that no matter what happens, there’s always a plan B. Even if it doesn’t seem great or you don’t even know what plan B is right away. The important thing to remember is to take some time to reflect on what happened, and then gradually start to redirect your energy in a better direction. If you can learn from your fall, then you will come back stronger, ready to take on new challenges.


As we grow up we often forget what it’s like to be a child. We get so caught up trying to get everything right, that we forget how many times we’ve fallen and stood back up when we were learning how to walk. A child never gives up until it knows how to walk. This determination is hardwired into us when it comes to leaning how to walk. So why not try it with all aspects of our lives?


If you have any questions or concerns about your (or your child’s) education path and would like to speak to one of our education consultants, don’t hesitate to contact us at 02030867311 or at info@ubertutors.co.uk.

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