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Failure is a life skill

2021-06-23  Staff Reporter

Failure is a life skill
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We live in an increasingly stressful world and it is important to foster emotional and mental resilience. While there is a growing need to succeed in every aspect of life, trials and errors are also part of the process. 

Society has set us up to believe that we cannot fail if we want to achieve society’s version of being a success. 

Those who fail get negative attention because failure is seen as a sign of incompetency. They are sometimes left out and not liked. Failure is not always a direct result of who someone is; there are many external factors that come with it.  The premise of this piece is not to encourage failure. We know that failure is not glorious. It is unpleasant and gives people a negative feeling of disappointment. 

While its effects are logical, failure
remains part of our existence. It is,
therefore, crucial to learn how to translate the concept of failure to the world without associating it with individuals. We need
to remind ourselves that even those
who have succeeded have profited from mistakes. The world sees children as a reflection of their parents. Parents, therefore, tend to have a growing mission to help their children succeed, and they do everything to avoid being judged because of their children’s failure.  Parents are their children’s first teachers,
as they create a framework on how to
behave and respond to life. While helping children to succeed, society should be very careful about how they teach their children to respond to failure.  Using children as their parents’ self-image can make them miss out on the support they may need after failure. 

Not knowing how to tolerate failure can cause children to be anxious.

Mental and interpersonal relationships also suffer when it is all about winning and avoiding failure at all cost. When you place failure on children, you keep them down. 

Intensifying the fear of failure also never move children forward; they only freeze and remain where they are. 

Children tend to waste time worrying instead of working when pressured to win. 

We can create a culture of embracing failure by not only rewarding children when they win but by supporting them when they fail.  We should learn to refer to failure as part of growing life.  Children who struggle – whether academically or in some other life areas – want their challenges and efforts to be seen. It is firstly how their parents react to their failure that they become affected.

Parents’ role is to safeguard their children and make sure they make the right choices. It starts by changing their language towards their children when they encounter failure. They should balance acceptance and problem-solving skills.  Invest time in finding out what is holding children back and allow them to explore the depth of their own interest. Areas such as attention and patience should gain weight.  This piece has widely focused on the parent-child relationship and it does not necessarily mean that parents are responsible for their children’s anxiety towards failure. 

Fear and depression that comes from failure stem from many sources that need to be explored.  The ultimate goal is to drive progress or change of behaviour, starting from home, to be able to face the outside world stronger. 

Saara Meke Amakali is an Industrial Psychology and Sociology graduate. 


2021-06-23  Staff Reporter

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