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Success and Failure

successHaving won the World Cup last time, Spain have exited this one at the group stage, just as France did when they won, as did Italy, and even Brazil. Success can clearly lead to increased pressure to keep your position at the top. This reminds me of a statistic I read once which showed that if your coach has just won the Manager of the Year award, you’d better start packing your bags and looking towards the division below because your odds of being relegated the next season are significantly increased.

All that expectation that you will live up to your Number 1 position! All that pressure to stay in the top spot and not let everyone down! Or maybe all that hubris and arrogance that you’re the best and no-one else can touch you!

Success obviously affects different people in different ways but it seems to me that the best way to handle it is to enjoy it and then forget it as quickly as possible, keep a sense of reality, don’t believe all the hype, and build your ego on different things.

I’ve always felt it to be a bit of a bummer in life that you learn more from failure rather than success, and there hasn’t come a time in my life yet where I’ve failed enough to never have to do it again in order to learn. It’s why it’s so important for children to experience failure and get used to it, and for us parents to frame our children’s success more as an inner satisfaction in effort and achievement for them rather than an indication of their innate brilliance and outer status in the pecking order. It’s lovely when our children achieve success but we shouldn’t invest too heavily in it. The more we big them up for their successes, the more devastating failure seems by comparison.

And anyway, success may be lovely, but it’s our failures in life that subsequently make the funniest stories. Except of course if you’re a member of the England squad.

6 Responses

  1. Pinkoddy
    | Reply

    Is it awful that this is why we want our A* student son to fail his driving test the first time.

    • Stephanie Davies-Arai
      | Reply

      Ha! No, it’s not awful, I think you’re very wise to see it like that! As long as you’re not too devastated if he passes with flying colours first time…he’ll get over it 😉

  2. Sarah
    | Reply

    But we always big the England squad up, even though we know they will fail. We never learn 🙂

    I do agree with you though about learning from failures. It’s like the ‘lightbulb man’ as our DD puts in – Edison didn’t fail 10,000 times for not getting it right when inventing the lightbulb, but learnt 10,000 times how not to do it.

  3. Mari
    | Reply

    You’re right and I was surprised to see at the twins first ever Sports Day last year that there were no winners and therefore no losers.
    As a parent I felt cheated out of an important part of their lives. We have to learn that only one person can win, it’s a tough one but it’s an incredibly important one

    • Even the children themselves know it’s ridiculous I think. School should be the place where they can experience failure within a safe environment as part of their learning about life. In the bad old days, it was being publicly humiliated for failing which was the negative thing, not the failure itself. We’ve gone to the opposite extreme now.

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