No Time To Fail

We devote a fair chunk of our teaching time telling children that it is okay to fail and it is okay to make mistakes.

We tell them they can’t be expected to get things right the first time and that not succeeding is part of life.

We tell them all about famous inventors who took 400 attempts to solve the problem they were working on and we tell them that if they don’t ‘get’ something then they shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed.

We tell them that they can fail their way to success if they stick at it and show resilience.

When children are given the opportunity to struggle and sometimes fail then we allow them to develop important social and emotional skills.

This is what we tell them.

But as soon as they enter the word of work, this lovely cosy cotton-wool approach is replaced with rusty barbed wire.

In the real world, mistakes and epic fails are not tolerated at all, especially at a Government level.

You might be lucky and have a boss that is understanding and your organisation might well be open-minded to learning curves but lots of people won’t experience this way.

As adults we aren’t supposed to fail and if we do then we get punished for it and that’s the complete opposite of what children were told at school.

In school, failure is unpleasant and children don’t like it because it can make them look bad, they have negative feelings of disappointment and frustration, and it can damage their self-esteem.

In the world of work, failure is more than unpleasant. It some cases it can be devastating. It can be life-changing. In lots of cases, it simply can’t be undone.

Failure-tolerant leaders and work colleagues don’t correspond to a teacher and your peers.

Yes, there are big name bosses who tell their employees how to get more comfortable with failure but again, most people won’t be under their wing or have a boss that can differentiate between good failure and bad failure.

In the real world  failure is a red-flag and you aren’t always given a second chance but banished to corporate Siberia or farmed off into a special project.

As we have seen in the pandemic, Government failures aren’t welcomed and seen as stepping stones on the way to more effectively running the country. Government failures are lambasted, ridiculed and lamented.

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