In Order to Succeed I Must First Fail

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

This phrase is not new; in fact it’s cliché, however that doesn’t make it any less true.  I’ve long utilized Diana Laufenberg’s TED Talk on How To Learn? From Mistakes as a conversation starter in most of my technology integration workshops because she so eloquently articulates this very point.  Recently however, this was reinforced in the most unlikely of places.  Like most red-blooded Canadian, sport-loving fathers, I too hope (believe) that my boys will one day become professional hockey players [dripping with sarcasm; sort of :)].  So to this end, we’ve enrolled our eldest in skating lessons.  Every week, we pack up his bag, drive him to the local rink, get him all geared-up and then coerce him into actually getting on the ice.  The first few weeks were rough as he didn’t really want to be there.  This was due to a combination of fear of something new and as he articulated himself, it hurt when he fell all the time.  I was also a bit skeptical myself regarding the process since it seemed all they did was sit on the ice for the first few weeks.  When they weren’t sitting, there were brief (very brief) moments of standing up and then of course the dreaded fall.  I didn’t blame him for not liking it as it really didn’t look like much fun.  Finally, around the fifth week as I was really beginning to question the time (and money) invested in these lessons the methodology became clear.  I realized that falling on the ice and feeling the cold, stinging pain was basically the worst thing that could happen in this setting.  As the children became comfortable with the idea of falling (or failing) they became more confident and began to take more risks.  Brilliant!  Once they had mastered the art of failure, they could now confidently take on the challenge of success.  My son still doesn’t love skating, and that’s fine but he’s no longer afraid of it and he’s actually improved drastically since he started.  As much as he’s learned however, I’ve likely learned more.

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