Failures are the stepping stones to success” – a cliched quote we tend to use whenever we face failures. But, do we really practice what we preach? Do we actually help our near and dear ones face failures the right way?
For instance, when a child comes home and says that he/she didn’t get selected in a school level competition, what do the parents say? “I think you didn’t try hard, You should have tried more. Did you find out how your friend got in? “ And the ranting goes on till we justify the reasons why the child failed in the same. Justifications could be like, “May be the teachers were partial, may be the instrument did not work, may be the winner is very friendly with the teachers, may be the school supports racism etc etc” And the same goes for an entrepreneur who fails in his or her attempt. The people around them try to justify the whole failure to external and internal attributes. In many cases the attributes end up in a verdict – “You shouldn’t do this henceforth. Try something else!” Well, this sort of discussions on failure actually creates a mindset of unhappiness in the person concerned – be it a child or an adult. Failures become a nightmare. It becomes something to be dreaded. And the person ends up lacking courage even to attempt the same the next time.
Instead, can we help our people to celebrate failure? Can we just cut a cake or dance through the failure? Well, I am not joking! Several studies in the field of happiness and positive psychology has proved that happiness leads to success and not vice versa.
Shawn Achor, a leading happiness researcher in his book “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” says that “ Your brain works significantly better at positive than at negative, neutral or stressed. Every single business and educational outcomes improve when we start at positive rather than waiting for a future success. Sales improve 37% cross-industry, productivity by 31%, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, nearly 10 times more engaged at work, live longer, get better grades, your symptoms are less acute and much more. He further listed three greatest predictors of happiness as optimism (the belief your behavior will eventually matter), social connection, and how we perceive stress (as a challenge or as a threat).
This and various studies on happiness reveals that we need to build a mindset of happiness which will further attract success. It works like this: When we are happy, we take better decisions and come up with better ideas. I need not explain how bad your decisions could be when you are under stress! Just rewind your life and think of all such scenarios when you took an action under a rage.
So, the next time, you or your child fail – Celebrate it. Go out for dinner, buy a new dress or perhaps cut a cake! It may sound crazy, but it will definitely help elevate your mood and bring out the hidden optimism and happiness. Optimism is certainly a great attribute to cultivate which helps in overcoming any crisis and let’s be optimistic about failures!Now, coming back to celebrating failures – Our society and upbringing only celebrates success and not the failures. But, ask any successful person living on earth, they will vouch for the immense failed attempts they had before attaining the success! And when we celebrate failure, we gain a better perspective and optimism on the attempt which will further lead to a better option or sometimes an incredible result. And most of the world’s top creative wisdom happened during times of relaxation and not while the person is stressed! Be it Archimedes who shouted “Eureka “from his bath tub or Newton who discovered the laws of gravitation when an apple fell on his head while relaxing in a garden!
PS: Article already published in Forward Business Magazine.