Failure: the Road to Success?

L Fail again 9193

The term ‘grit’ is in the news a lot at the moment, particularly in relation to education, where it is seen as an important skill for young people to develop to help them cope with life’s stresses and strains, and to help them have staying power to aim for what they want in life.   

In particular a key part of ‘grit’ is giving students the opportunity to fail at something, along with the ability to recognise failure as a positive thing. Failure is a natural part of life and it isn't something we can totally avoid so the ability to embrace and learn from it it can help us become stronger and give us clearer direction. 

Within coaching scenarios failure is also an important barrier to overcome, either because a coachee is finding a recent failure hard to deal with, or because a fear of failure is holding them back on doing something. Coaching questions around the idea of what failure is, how a coachee handles it, how failure can be a positive and negative thing, along with ‘what would happen if…’ questions are useful. 

It can also be useful to think about famous failures and how for many people failure was in reality what ultimately made them a success. Dyson even use their failures as a marketing strategy as can be seen in the image at the top of the page. 

Famous failures include:

  • Michael Jordan, the basketball player was dropped from his High School basketball team
  • John Wayne, the Hollywood actor, was rejected from the United States Naval Academy
  • Beethoven's music teacher told him he was a useless composer
  • Henry Ford first two businesses failed before his Henry Ford Motor Company was set up
  • Steven Spielberg, the film director, dropped out of school which meant he was rejected from 3 film schools because of poor grades
  • Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, did badly in school and had a speech impediment when he was young
  • Walt Disney was fired by the editor of a newspaper as he didn't have enough good ideas
  • Albert Einstein learnt to speak late and performed poorly in school
  • The Beatles were rejected by the Decca record label as they said didn't like their sound and didn't have a future


This short video might be also be a useful as a prompt for discussion.


This month's free photo download to prompt reflection:

L Incy Wincy Spider story 7227

How can the image be used as a metaphor for something that is happening in your life (good or bad)? What does it spark inside you in terms of seeing a new way forward you had not previously considered? 

Save the image to your downloads folder.

Let me know how you used the photo julie@julieboyd.co.uk

To view other blogs I write for D&T teachers & those interested in textiles follow the links in the side bar


Contact:     Tel 01159 607061    Mob 07972 749240   Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk
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© Julie Boyd 2012  All  text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.