Learning from mistakes

Failures are not all bad, but serve as reminders of how we should tackle issues and get positive outcomes.

PEOPLE make mistakes and face failures, both small and big ones, so many times in their lives.

Even bigger are those of the life-changing personal ordeals. These are the physically-exhausting, emotionally-draining, and spiritually-testing struggles.

Each one of us may relate to different experiences that qualify in this category.

There are also mistakes that may be collective failures. We as a society are not doing so well in some aspects.

The problems of social cohesion, language barriers, mediocre infrastructure, and public sanitation are testimonies that we need to do more.

There are no shortages of new challenges too: worsening climate, environmental pollutions, and social gaps.

There is no such thing as a perfect life. Life proceeds through an iterative, trial-and-error, process.

What we must do is to learn from the small failures so we won’t make the big and costly ones.

The key point is to learn. Bill Gates said: “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

The first thing in facing failure is to admit it. Then we must have faith that there are good values in it which were explored in my earlier article.

The gist of it is that facing failure is a character-building process. It demands us to become more resilient and humble, a good antidote to keep our ego in check. Good virtues don’t come cheap.

If failures, at least the small ones, are constant tests and reminders for us, then how do we educate ourselves in dealing with them? Can we even roll them into a school curriculum to teach our kids? That’s a thought worthy to be entertained.

The answer is yes and no. Yes, as it is a worthy cause to teach kids how to deal with failures.

No, because it is the opposite culture that our schools are promoting: that failure is unacceptable, that perfection is a must, that mistakes cannot be tolerated, that right answers must be obtained in the first instance, that wrong answers must be punished.

by Zulfaa Mohamed Kassim

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2013/08/11/Learning-from-mistakes.aspx

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