Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday Feature: The Joy of Failure

In my First Year Seminar, we are reading Carol Dweck's Mindset and today, we talked about failure résumés. Technically, they're not a part of Dweck's work but they fit into the topic beautifully.

Then this evening when, at the end of a very long, very off-kilter week, I realized that I hadn't posted yet (another word Dweck is fond of), I came across this article on the benefits of set-backs, particularly early in a career.

Sometimes, the perfect resource lands just as perfectly.

I certainly don't fit the "early in my career" designation, but I'm a big believer in learning from what went wrong, a characteristic Carol Dweck attributes to those with a growth mindset. When we take time to assess our failures and setbacks, Dweck (and others) assert, we can use them as learning experiences in an endeavor to do better next time.

Does this mean we should run headlong into failure? Maybe. But, more likely, it means that we shouldn't fear failure. I love the description of failures as data because I can't think of a better way to de-personalize something that feels entirely -- and often painfully -- personal. When we can think of the endeavor as less-than-perfect (or even failed if that is indeed the case), it doesn't sap our sense of self but rather, it frees us up to troubleshoot, plan and establish new goals and new directions.

While the world (or our little corner of it, at least) would be a whole lot more comfortable if we always succeeded, our world gains depth and breadth when we have the courage to take a leap, even it if means we might fail.

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