Failure: The Key to Success?

Often times, we try to shield our students and each other from failure to avoid that sinking feeling of falling without a net. And no, I’m not going to say that failure ever feels good, but I will say, as many others have before me, that it’s often in our failures that we find our greatest successes.

In her Commencement Address to Harvard in 2008, JK Rowling says “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

So maybe we shouldn’t be trying to teach our students how to avoid failure, but rather, we should be teaching them how to fail, and how then how to pick up the pieces afterwards.