The gift of failure

fat Forty and FiredJanuary has come and gone. And maybe you find that (despite your New Year’s Resolutions), you still feel depressingly like Nigel Marsh in his book Fat, Forty and Fired. If that makes you feel like a bit of a failure, could be you’re looking at this all wrong. Because failing is the new way to go.

It is hard to believe, but recent research is emphatic – we learn our best and most important lessons from our failures and not from our successes. Have a look at this list of recent reads on Failing.

The gift of failureAn excellent place to start is with The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Published late in 2015, Lahey’s book focuses attention on how we raise our children. Sub-titled How The Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children can Succeed, adults will also learn a lot from Lahey’s clear message: allow your kids (and yourself) to make mistakes.

Another good read is The Rise by Sarah Lewis who approaches the topic of failure by researching the achievements of Nobel prize-winners, successful entrepreneurs and creative artists, and comparing these with their early “failures”. Her message is clear, we need to “converse with our failures”.

The art of mistakesI remember a time, way back, when I had lost my job; was living a great distance from my family; didn’t appear to have a single creative thought to spare; kept clinging to a relationship that was long since over, and to top it all I was sporting the worst hairstyle … ever. What is more, like most of us, I was trying to make sense of it all by utilising The Power of Positive Thinking.

And it’s not that I want to knock Positive Thinking, it has served me very well. But I like the idea that there are other approaches I can take when things go wrong – which they surely will.

And these books made me look at my failures with new eyes, made me feel that instead I could be Fit Fifty and Fired Up. And that would make 2016 a very good year indeed!

2 thoughts on “The gift of failure

  1. Steven Dooey 5 February 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Great post! So true, failure is actually very important to success, we need to take action and sometimes we won’t get it right. But we get back up and push onwards and try again. Thanks for sharing and all the best!

  2. robertafsmith 5 February 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Thanks Steven – I’m especially aware of the importance of mistakes and failing right now as I am a granny and it is so tempting to just want to make everything right and perfect for kids.The Lahey book was quite an eye-opener for me in that regard.

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