I really appreciate the conclusions Elizabeth Gilbert came to when faced with her success and then less than successful book publishing. This is a great example of not getting overly emotional about what seems to be either success or failure. In the martial arts, as in yoga or meditation or any part of life – Practice for the sake of practice and the results will come.
Watching your son or daughter trying to accomplish a task that brings with it a reward that they want very badly is very hard for a parent. In our school as a child is demonstrating their jumping rope, performing a form or some other skill, many parents have told me they have sat on the side holding their breath, hoping for success. For all parents though just this one thought:
Success does not mean avoiding failure.
In fact, with the right attitude, failure is neither fatal or final. It can be the springboard to success.
All of us fail. The only way we will not fail is if we do not try anything. The question is how will we fail? How will we view mistakes? If we are to be a success we must learn to fail in the forward direction. In other words our mistakes must not get inside our head and stop us from giving it another try.
When we are teaching our children about success – we can also teach them about the power of failure. Learning from their mistakes, thinking about how to improve ourselves and the situation, focusing on the rewards of success will keep our children and ourselves from becoming negative in our attitude and mind. Failure can be a great learning experience, an opportunity for growth and character building experience.
One of the most difficult parenting challenges we have is seeing our child fail at a task that we know that they really want to achieve. In fact many parents have a tendency to do everything in their power to not allow their child fail – at almost anything. We have discussed before how important it is for children to learn that failure is part of life and that we can reorganize and try again. I am reminded of Thomas Edison, who after his factory burned to the ground said something to the affect of, that now they could get started on some new and better ideas.
This is a good time of the year as we look at what we have done this year and see the areas of our own failure to reach a goal to evaluate how we will react. Our own reaction will teach our children how to reevaluate and move forward. Take a look at this acronym and use it as a guide to moving forward.
F – finalize your goal
O – order your plans
R – risk failing by taking action
W – welcome mistakes
A – advance based on your character
R – reevaluate your progress continually
D – develop new strategies to succeed
If you stay determined, and are willing to get up when you have been knocked down, you will achieve not only your goals but also your dreams.