It’s Okay To Fail
Over time we have evolved into a society that has become afraid of the word “failure.” Somewhere along the way losing became a dirty word. Many educated individuals decided that removing competition would somehow raise the self-esteem of children. After all, who wants to see sweet, innocent children crying or upset? We stopped keeping score, everyone is a winner so why aren’t our kids happy, healthy and overflowing with confidence?
Winning is great but learning how to lose is just as important to a child’s growth and development. Both teach important lessons that bridge a path to a successful future. The world our children will have to learn to navigate is competitive. There will be competition in school, sports, career and yes, even family so why would we not prepare our children for what awaits them? Competition is part of our everyday existence and just as you would teach your child how to read, they must also learn how to handle both winning and losing.
What We Can Learn From Winning And Losing
Winning gives children a feeling of accomplishment. There’s a sense of pride that comes when you do things well and are acknowledged for it. Confidence grows when you discover you’re good at something. When you have confidence, you’re more likely to be motivated to do and try more things because you gain a “can do” attitude. This is important because successful individual are people who are more prone to take chances and try new things. Getting a taste for winning also helps children become more motivated to set goals and work harder to achieve their goals. Winning helps children become “doers.” When children want to win, they will begin to strategize various ways to obtain that goal, which means they’re more inclined to; practice, research, pay attention and think outside of the box. Again, all characteristics of highly successful people.
So we discovered that winning is GREAT! What can be learned from losing? The world our children live in is filled with challenges and negative experiences. In order to become a strong, competent individual, learning to master dissapointment is a key element of success. It may not seem fair that one person gets a prize while another doesn’t but this is the reality called life. The playing field is not always going to be level but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still win. Everyone has different gifts and talents. Some kids may be good at academics while others excel in sports. Some kids may be good at music while others are great socially. Losing can help children discover their strengths and weaknesses. No one is great at everything.
Losing Creates Desire
Unfortunately, when we stopped keeping score, children stopped trying. Honestly, what’s the point of working hard if I’m going to get the prize anyway? So many great, inspiring stories have been born from rejection. Actors and actresses turned down for parts repeatedly. Athletes told by coaches that they just didn’t have what it took to make the team. Student’s who struggle to pass classes or inventors who were told their idea were ridiculous. There are so many individuals that fell into one of these categories who now have Academy Awards, Educational Degrees, Championship Titles, Olympic Medals and Multi Million Dollar Inventions. Yet, they were all losers at one point. Children must learn that just because you lose, doesn’t make you a loser. Losing produces character. Losing can help you become empathetic to others because you have a working knowledge of how it feels to be disappointed. Facing a challenge can drive us to work harder to become better. We also learn humility and how to appreciate our victories as well as the effort and hard work of others. When children aren’t consumed with the thought of losing, they’re able to focus on achieving goals. When children don’t associate losing with who they are as an individual, they are more likely to have higher self-esteem and a better self image of themselves.
Everyone wants to win. As parents, educators and coaches, we must help children understand this important rule. When something is made to look easy, that means there were countless hours of work, sweat, education and time that went into making it look that way. People never achieve high levels of success by having things given to them. Successes earned are the ones we cherish and celebrate. To many young people become depressed in disheartened as they become older and discover that life is highly competitive and they lack the skills necessary to compete. Successful individuals understand that winning and losing is a part of life and neither one defines you.
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