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4 Lessons that Failure Teaches in PsychCentral

  • But when we can look at our failures from a place of curiosity, they can be our greatest teachers, says clinical psychologist Dr. Shauna Pollard, who runs a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Paying attention to where we went wrong can help us fine-tune our process before we try again,” Pollard says.

  • It’s important to separate failure as a process from how we view ourselves as individuals, adds Pollard, who works on reframing with many of her clients.

“We are not failures, even though we may have failed at a task,” she notes.

  • Failure, by definition, is a “lack of success.” It can be a result or, simply, an attempt that was unsuccessful.

In most cases, it’s also a prerequisite for success, according to Pollard.

“Failures and success often co-occur. Most people don’t have one without the other,” she notes.

  • According to Pollard, there are many reasons why people fail or fall short of their goals. It could be:
    • bad timing
    • lack of preparedness
    • conditions for success not currently in place
    • lack of knowledge about what it takes to succeed
    • lack of support
    • not enough tries to achieve a consistent effort
    • giving up too quickly
  • When you fail at something, it means you’re trying, says Pollard.

“Trying is better than not trying,” she notes. “As you make active efforts to reach your goal, you get to see what works and what doesn’t work. The lessons we learn from our mistakes are far greater and more impactful than most information you can read in a book or get from someone else.”

Read the full article on PsychCentral