Updated: Oct 11, 2018
For those who don't know it already, I own my own learning center. I have had the desire to have a learning center since I was in college. That was a very long time ago. Anyway I was having a discussion with one of my students the other day, and the subject of fear came up. I started thinking about how much we don't do and don't accomplish because we're afraid of failure.
Then I thought about another student that I worked with last week. She had a question about a problem that she was struggling with, but couldn't figure out how to resolve the situation. She was in class, and her teacher separated them into groups of four. Their task was to go over their homework together. There was one problem that was a multiple-choice problem, and on that problem she got the answer, "D," but the other three students got the answer, "C." Immediately they assumed that she got the answer wrong, because she was not in the majority. She showed me the problem, and we both did it together. As I worked it out, I realized that she was correct. She told me that she redid the problem while with the group and still got the same answer, "D," and then she went home and did the problem a couple more times, all still with the same result.
I thought about how she must have felt in that group, not having the confidence to say that the other three students must've been wrong. She doubted herself, but after going over that problem several times, she was confident that she was the one that was correct. (I think the reason she wanted me to go over it with her was for me to confirm she was correct). The interesting thing to me is because the other three students thought they were right, they never once went over that problem again, at least not with the group, and they dismissed her and the problem as if they were correct. I told the scenario to another student, and asked him what he thought the other students did. Did he think that they went back over the problem again to make sure that they were correct? And he immediately said "No, they probably just went onto the next problem. That's what kids in my class would've done." That helps me to see how extremely valuable failure is. Even the idea of failure is valuable. Because she thought she might be incorrect she went back over that problem, practiced that problem, and gained the confidence that comes from knowing she was right. She knows how to do a problem like that and that's something that as an adult I can't give her. She had to get that on her own through her doing what she needed to do to gain that confidence. But those other students did not go over that problem, did not review it, and did not think that they needed to, and won't until they get it wrong when it really counts. Because of that they don't know how to do problems like that, and they didn't get better; they settled with what they felt they knew.
Making a mistake, experiencing failure, that helps you to grow; it helps you to learn. There is no growth; there is no progression, if you think you know everything. If you think you got it right, you don't go back over it and self reflect, at least the tendency is not to. Even with failure you have two options: you can let it defeat you, and make you feel self-pity, or you can make it propel you to progression, success, and learning. I think I'm going to choose the latter, that way even failure or making mistakes can be a platform that's positive and can lead to making progress in life. I want to be better, continue to grow, and not become stagnant. This is a journey, and I want to make the most of every situation and opportunity.
How many times have you thought you were right and dismissed the opportunity to grow? How many times have you doubted yourself and thought you were wrong when you were really right, and instead of believing in yourself and your ability, you allowed others to make you feel less than what you are? I think with more experiences like this, this student will begin to believe more in herself, and I have the confidence to speak up for herself. That doesn't mean point the finger at them and say "You're wrong," but encourage them to try it again together. "Let's all try that problem again. Let's all work it out again and see what we come up with the second time." It might've been an opportunity for her to share how she worked the problem to get the answer and help them. Now if the other party is resistant, there's nothing you can do about it, but don't let that make you second guess yourself. Encourage others to grow along with you, and see if both sides aren't enriched by that situation.
Let's Organize Our Lives!
Life management is one of the hardest things to master, because there are so many components! One of my life confessions and goals is that with God's help, I can achieve balance in six areas of my life: socially, professionally, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. I try to implement an activity everyday that speaks to each of these components, and boy is it challenging! But I think it is good to stretch and challenge yourself; and it sure does make life more exciting while keeping your focus off what may be wrong in your life! I designed and started using this calendar to plan out the blocks of time I had to do certain things, so that I could make sure my day did not go by unproductively. Actually seeing the things I had to do, and when I needed to have them done, really helped me accomplish more in a day and organize myself a lot better. I also fashioned one (I use this one primarily now) with a checklist on the side. I love to check off things! It helps to visually see how much I’ve actually accomplished in a day and keeps me motivated. If you’d like either one to use for organizing your life, please download them here.