Success or Failure?

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Do you think of yourself as a successful or a failure? Your answer undoubtedly depends on how you define success and failure. For instance, if you believe having a particular number or certain number of commas in your bank account is the data necessary to prove your success then your answer would be different from a person who believes success is measured by random acts of kindness toward loved ones and strangers alike.

Most of us have learned that failure is part of success. Rarely are any of us successful the very first time we try anything. Children learning to stand for the first time go through a predictable process of standing and falling, followed by standing a failing, with more standing, falling, standing failing repeatedly until finally they stand and succeed. What a remarkable process, especially when you consider what happens next. Now a child will stand and take a step to walk. This learning experience is also full of failure, falling, and frustration until the child learns to walk. Children experience and accept that failure is part of learning and succeeding. It is adults who grow impatient, frustrated and angry when their success takes time and repeated failure.

However, there is a big difference between a child who knows that her failure will ultimately result in success, and a child who believes that he is a loser and a failure no matter what he does or doesn’t do. Unfortunately schools do children no favors in this regard. Giving failing grades to a child struggling to learn does not inspire more studying or striving to succeed. Too often a child believes failure is not just a grade in a subject, but it is who they really are as a person.

Do you think of yourself as a success or a failure? If your answer is failure, consider changing or modifying your definition. The importance of your Mental Health & Happiness depends on believing you are successful and will be successful in your future.

(For those of you involved with children, please take time to help them see themselves as successes too. Their present and future Mental Health & Happiness is at stake.)

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