Build Confidence From Failure, Don’t Dwell On It!

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by Kevin Watson

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09.29.2016

Successful people learn from failure, they don’t beat themselves up about the mistakes they’ve made!

I’d go as far to say if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not actually doing anything!

The experiences and events in our lives play a major part in the levels of confidence we have to do a job.

Yet, although two people can go through the same experience, one may be confident whilst the other is not.

Why is this?

Well, it’s what we do with the experience that makes the difference.

Those people with a high level of confidence learn from their experiences, as opposed to dwelling on them. They consider failure as an opportunity to learn and take stock. Then they move on, fast!

For the rest, how about this notion … don’t even use the word failure.

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

Imagine what it would be like if you considered there to be no failures, only experiences.

Let me help by asking you this: can you remember when you learned to walk?

At first, I’m guessing you would have fallen over – a lot!

But, I’m also willing to bet that you didn’t give up due to a lack of confidence and never walked again!

Of course not, what a ridiculous idea that would be.

You learned to walk because of those times you fell down. You learned from these experiences and then walked, without judging them as a failure and losing confidence.

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.

Bill Gates

Have you ever come across the Marshmallow Challenge?

If I’ve worked with you and your team, chances are you have.

I’ve used this exercise as part of leadership and team development programmes, as well as a great stand-alone experience at conferences or to kick start a meeting.

The challenge is a fun, design and build exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation, and creativity.

The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure from twenty sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. Oh, and the marshmallow needs to be on top.

From studies of groups taking part in this challenge, the better teams are found to be recent graduates of kindergarten!

Not only do they consistently produce taller structures, but theirs are also highly creative too.

But why?

Again and again, young children build smaller structures, continually learning from the previous one.

Compare this to business students who have been taught to plan, do and review!

So, go ahead and be confident to try new ways of doing stuff, knowing you will fail and that’s okay – as long as you continue to learn from each of your experiences.

The real winners in life do make mistakes.

However, successful and confident people learn from these moments, whereas the rest will often give up.

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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.

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