What does it mean?
The google definition is “the omission of expected or required action.”
What happens when we fail? Well, we have a physical and an emotional reaction to not achieving that action. We literally feel a squeezing in the stomach, your muscles tighten, and you feel deflated, discouraged.
Why do we want to buffer and stop the feelings that come from failure? If you are a mom, your instinct, which comes from a place of love, is always to “help” them do something. “Help” them put on their pants when they are struggling, help them open the jar, help them with everything. Why don’t we let them struggle and try so they can succeed on their own? It is likely if we hold back our “need” to help them, they will struggle, they will take longer than we would like to observe, but eventually they will get the pants on.
The look of accomplishment and the grin they will award you with, will be priceless.
They will be so joyful of their accomplishment that this will build confidence. Yes, confidence to put on the pants quicker, in the right direction and to do it so well it will become an unconscious activity. Just like when you tie your shoes. You do not think about every step on how to grab the laces, cross them, make the loop, and pass them anymore. You have succeeded at that task, and now it is subconscious.
If we try to help our kids do everything, they will never learn confidence when doing a small or larger task. They will need this skill to navigate the world that will have challenging circumstances. Rome was not built in a day. It took many days and hard work to make it the grandiose city it is today. Let your kids become Rome.
Why is teaching our kids basic skills not thought of the same way, every day?
Not only do we want to help them with everything, but we also want to shield them or buffer them from the feeling when they fail. I guess we try to help them so we do not see the result that they may not be able to get the pants on. We do not want to see disappointment, frustration.
Is their frustration, their lack of success in the expected action something they should not feel? If they fail, should we acknowledge their feelings with empathy, carry them through the emotion with love and then come up with solutions on how maybe next time when they try they could achieve their result to put on the pants? Or should we belittle them and say how long it is taking them, and just put them on ourselves quickly, because we are in such a hurry?
Letting kids fail with “little” everyday tasks and carrying them through the emotions, builds the foundation of their confidence.
It is inevitable they will fail; they will fail at innumerable endeavors. Their first relationship, their first solo piano recital, their basketball game, their drivers test, their job at the big law firm. Life is full of “failures.” Full of examples of not achieving that expected outcome.
Kids will learn, with trial and error, it may take 16 times of practicing to put on the pants to achieve it. They will learn that each time perhaps an adjustment had to be made to achieve success. This will then allow them to understand why they may not land that job at the big law firm on the first try.
Will they quit, feel defeated or worthless, when they do not get the job? Or will they understand what you taught them in the morning routine? It takes massive action to get things they want to succeed at. Whether it’s 16 times to put on pants, or 8 more interviews or two more tries at the same law firm. Did they use the failure to realize they can improve their resume, their pitch, their posture at the interview, their interview skills and a million things that could have made the difference to achieve the success the first time?
Everything we do has consequences. We just are not conscious of them. We have busy lives. We are running behind. We do not have all morning to figure out how to put on the pants when it’s almost time to leave the house. If we are conscious of what we do, what we say, how we do it, and always do it with compassion and empathy, the results will shatter your expectations of what it can become.
A great example are comedians. Every famous comedian tried out their jokes every day of the week, during the free weekday admission spots and figured out what “failed” and flopped when the jokes were delivered. Every night, they made a change, adjusted their tone, pitch, and the pause right before the punch line. By Saturday night, the jokes were on fire. They were epic, retweeted 2 million times. But comedians painfully understand the meaning of failure. It’s part of their daily joke routine. To succeed in delivering the jokes which will secure nonstop laughter, they had to fail multiple times; and it was literally not funny when they did.
Just like Coldplay or any band you like. They rehearsed and made changes multiple times until their fingers were full of callous so that they could fill the stadium with 50,000+ people and seem effortless. To succeed, you had to fail many times. It took massive action to get to the success or to deliver a funny joke.
It is better to teach small important lessons today, not to learn when you are 16 years old and when you fail at your driving test, that you do not always succeed at all tests, even if you had previously aced all others.
The lessons should start today.
Have empathy. Be curious why you do or say things today.
It will transform you.