In Pursuit of Success, Failure Is Not an Option, It Is a Prerequisite

As summer unwinds and the school year approaches, it is important for all adults, especially parents, to understand it is not their job to insure success for their children. What I mean by this statement is that many parents make the egregious mistake (and I do mean egregious) of setting their kids up for success by doing everything within their power to make them successful. Parents "pick" the teachers, activities, coaches, teams, etc., that they believe will set their kids up for success, if not help them to become the star(s)!

So, what is so horrible about creating an environment that facilitates your child's success? How about everything!

First of all, creating a "fail free" zone for you child throughout their childhood could not be anything further from the reality they will enter in the adult real world. A real world that is highly competitive and one that demands, yes demands, that you not only be able to fail, but learn from your failures and then move on, but also be able to pivot on a dime, change course in a moment's notice and have the skill to do so seamlessly. How can a young adult entering the workforce possess these skills if their entire childhood has been lived in a false incubator where most, if not all, variables were predicted and accounted for, with little, if any, extraneous challenges thrown into the mix?

Failure is a prerequisite for success because it builds character. It provides children with the invaluable opportunity to grow outside their comfort zone by learning that they do, indeed, have more to learn; that there are new challenges to be face; that they can lose at something and that life does indeed, continue. When a child loses a baseball game or gets a poor grade, they learn (if given the opportunity) to look at the failure as a chance to understand what they did wrong or inadequately -- and are then allowed to see the areas where they need to improve. Failure teaches self-esteem because once a failure has been looked at and embraced, the child has the opportunity to learn from it and develop a skill they didn't have prior to the failure. And this builds the self-confidence necessary for reaching outside of one's comfort zone to take on new challenges.

Let's stop coddling our children. Let them run, fall and learn to shrug it off and pick themselves up again to run again and face new challenges.

Employers don't need paper tigers at work; they need confident self-assured workers who are willing to take on new initiatives, fail at them, and then move on to eventually succeed -- a success predicated upon failure. Yes, failure is a prerequisite for success!

Dr. Patty Ann Tublin