Thoughts on ‘failure’

This week, I did something I have never done before.

I cancelled a MTG workshop.

I could give you many reasons why but, if I’m honest, it was because I didn’t feel strong enough.

My friends and students were very kind about it… but I still felt extremely guilty

And yes… I felt like a failure.


I’ve been thinking about failure a lot recently.

And it’s something I hear about from my exam students a lot.

The fact is: Fear of failure is the number one cause of exam stress.

We don’t think we will get the grade we want and so we stress and study and stress some more.

Because failure has consequences for us.

“If I don’t pass my exam, I can’t go to university. If I don’t get into university, I can’t get the job I want. If I don’t get the job, I want I won’t earn enough money, and I won’t be happy. If I don’t earn enough money…. etc etc etc.”


The next fact is: Stress takes any fun out of learning.

We learn the best when we are relaxed. And we are relaxed when we are having fun.

For me: stress = not fun.

So how do we make stress into fun?


The crystal ball of FAIL

1. Don’t think too far into the future.

Who says you will be jobless if you don’t pass the exam?

Who says you won’t find the money to try the exam again?

Who says you’ll get fired?

We just DON’T KNOW. So don’t try and write the future.

Plus, your ‘failure’ or ‘mistake’ may lead to something wonderful in the long-term.

So why say that it’s bad now when you don’t know what will happen next?


2. Remember you’re human

Humans make mistakes. We’re not perfect.

If I have learnt anything from cancelling that workshop, it’s that IT’S OK TO BE NOT OK.

People understand and things generally work out. THAT is a fact of life.

So don’t call yourself a ‘failure’ when things don’t follow your plans.

Life doesn’t follow plans… so why should we?

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