It Really IS Okay To Fail – It’s How We Learn!
One of the lessons that we try to teach our children when they train with us is that it’s okay to fail. It’s certainly okay to make mistakes, because we all make mistakes and we all fail at things. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to be afraid to make mistakes and not to be afraid of failure, because these are the seeds of learning. We like to say, “There’s no winning and losing, there’s winning and learning.” So the key is, we’re constantly trying to let the students know, especially the youngest ones when they come in and they’re apprehensive, and they’re intimidated, and they’re a little bit overwhelmed, that they’re going to make mistakes. But, more importantly, we tell them that it’s totally cool to make mistakes, because when you make mistakes, you learn what you’re not supposed to do.
This idea of progress within failure is something of which I am constantly reminded. Recently, I had a conversation with one of my students, who is now in his thirties, who remembers something I said at his yellow belt test when he was around six or seven years old. I was talking after the test, explaining, “I know some of you feel you made some mistakes, and that’s all part of testing. That’s why we have them, so you can learn to perform under pressure and so you also learn that you make mistakes and then you go forward. You know exactly what you need to work on for your next test.” But this student said it always stuck in his head how I was talking about making mistakes and how it was okay to make mistakes, but that you should try not to make the same mistake twice, because if you can do that, then you’ve learned something important. This particular gentlemen, I have a funny feeling, is teaching his students today the same lessons.