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International Day for Failure - Oct. 13th

Established in 2010 by Finnish University students, this initiative was born from a profound recognition: failure is an unavoidable facet of life.

What a breath of fresh air this perspective brings. How many among us can genuinely celebrate and embrace failure in a constructive manner? How often do we perceive failure as our sworn enemy, a harbinger of our downfall? Allowing our failures to define us can be detrimental. The immense pressure we place on ourselves may lead to self-sabotage, causing us to play it safe and forego the potential rewards that risk-taking can bring.

But what if we were to fully accept and acknowledge failure? What if we stopped berating ourselves and, instead, chose to view our setbacks as opportunities for course correction rather than moments of defeat? Altering our mindset about failure opens doors to an array of possibilities.

In facing challenges, setbacks, and failures, we often tend to attach shame-based meanings and stories to these experiences. We make self-limiting statements such as "I'm either good at it or I'm not," "I've always been bad at making decisions," "Feedback is criticism or a personal attack," "If I fail, it's humiliating and something to feel ashamed about," and "Who I am is not wanted."

But what if we dared to stretch and reframe our approach to challenges and setbacks? What if we saw failures as opportunities to catalyze future success, rather than reflections of our abilities or indictments of our character? What if we believed that we can learn and grow from our challenges, that our effort and attitude determine our abilities, and that feedback is essential for catalyzing success? What if we understood that we can rise again after a failure, with our self-worth remaining intact?

What could be possible?

Would you like to know how to reframe your perspective on failure and embrace the possibilities it offers:

  1. Be Curious: Approach failure with curiosity, acknowledging that all learning stems from the powerful posture of not knowing. Curiosity serves as the gateway to growth and creativity. Ask yourself, "I wonder how I might look at this in a new and creative way?"

  2. Suspend Judgment: Shift your inclination to judge both yourself and others when faced with failure or when things don't go as planned. Instead, strive to view failure and setbacks through a nonjudgmental lens.

  3. Commitment to Finding a Way: Adopt the stance that you are a powerful problem solver and are committed to finding a solution. Approach challenges with the belief that you can navigate through them. Ask yourself, "I wonder how I can solve this."

  4. Creativity and Resourcefulness: Engage your entire being in a process of creativity and curiosity. Encourage yourself to explore new ways of approaching challenges. Ask, "What valuable lessons can I extract from this experience?" or "What support or resources might I need to navigate through this setback effectively?"

October 13, 2023

Molly Whalen

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