Redefining, Accepting and Creating Space for Failure

By: Emily Franchi: Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 10:17 PM

     Adolescence and early adulthood mark a period of life when individuals face the challenge of creating their own identities and experimenting in new social groups, occupational roles and changing environments. Today’s youths have the added pressure of comparing their own lives, relationships and successes to the idealized and curated online personas found on social media profiles. This unrealistic version of someone else’s life fosters a drive towards perfectionism and a fear of failure that can negatively affect motivation, happiness and satisfaction as individuals traverse an already challenging period of life. 

     With this in mind, it’s important to teach the teenagers and young adults in our lives to understand the benefits of failure, and, more importantly, the difference between failing and being a failure. To fail at a project or activity means to have put forward one’s best effort towards accomplishing a goal. Putting forth that effort is an accomplishment in and of itself. There is a significant difference between failing and being a failure. Failure is inevitable, and creates space for an individual to grow and to learn new ways of thinking and approaching a problem in the future. It does not mean that one “is a failure.” To “be a failure” is but a mindset; it blocks creativity and the road to success by creating a voice within ourselves that tells us to stop trying. The most important lesson one can learn as a young adult is how to move forward from failure, accepting it as a lesson learned and an opportunity to try again.