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The Role of Failure in Learning

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello Failure is a universal way to learn and grow.

Failure Is Fear on Loan

When talking about the role of failure in learning I think this speaks to the truth, at least for me, at what failure represents. For many failure is the great Unknown. The dark, the embarrassment, the potential financial loss, the loss of innocence.

This post is originally in another blog post, but I decided to pull it out. View that blog post here.

If we had really been born afraid of failure, we would never grow.

Jim Bruner

The irony is that at some point in your life (babies, childhood, young adult) the whole wide world was a big unknown. If we had really been born afraid of failure, we would never grow. Search your feelings; you know this to be true.

So where does the human fear of failure come from? The Psychologists, Anthropologists, Economists, Historians, Poets, and Parents all have a different ideas. Regardless, failure is a powerful tool, the trick is in the dose.

There is an old maxim; The dose makes the poison, right? (Paracelsus was more eloquent than I!) Again, the irony is that failure isn’t even a poison, it’s just convenient to think about it as poison. Like poison, most of us fear it.

Stop being afraid to fail and grant yourself some grace. Reframe failure as a horizon of knowledge and you’ll be surprised how quickly poison transforms into promised land. Then walk through it and to it.

Don’t Borrow Worry, or Fear Failure

Do not buy or borrow worry or fear failure. All things in their time and season. As a farmer I take what I get and return what is required. I do not hold regrets.

Regret is the one edit that has zero meaning in life. This is because it cannot be acted upon, only learned from. Dwelling on regret is buying worry – and fortune and time cannot be brokered or bought.

I have had the great fortune of nearly dying — twice. It changes and shifts your perceptions. You learn to accept things, you can be cross or grateful, but we are never really in control, except for our response and our attitude, right?

So no, I do not CHASE failure, but I do embrace it and make it a learning opportunity. I do this and I demand all the people I mentor do this as well. We gamble with our boldness and the real art of life and agriculture is learning to make promises you CAN keep and not betting against the farm, or Mother Nature.

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