The #OpenBlog19 challenge created by David Hopkins is sparking a series of posts where educators go on to challenge others to write a blog in answer to a given question. David challenged me to write about ‘The most valuable lesson I ever learned…’.
This is the first thing I have written (apart from work-related reports) since completing my doctoral thesis in July 2018. It seems I am not the only one who suffers from post-thesis writing anxiety, so please bear with me as I try and construct a coherent blog post.
The most valuable lesson I ever learnt did not come from a school classroom or a university lecture theatre, but from home. Our parents try their best to make us the best versions of ourselves as they possibly can. They nuture us and equip us with the necessary life skills and resources needed to face the real world. Mistakes will be made, these inevitably do happen. It is what we learn from those mistakes that will determine what we do next.
My most ‘valuable lesson’ then is learning from my mistakes. Some mistakes will be inconsequential, others can be life-changing. This requires us to take risks and build up resilience. When something goes wrong, you pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again. It also requires to look at things differently, so the same mistake is not repeated – history has much to teach us! This enables us to become more flexible and creative. We become more fearless towards failure. Failure requires us to be bold.
However, aspects of our society is becoming quite risk adverse and ‘failure is not an option’. Failure is seen as wasteful and expensive. No-one rewards failure, only successful outcomes. Ultimately, this is what we all want: a ‘successful outcome’, but it requires us to get bruised and battered along the way. No pain, no gain as they say.
Learning from our mistakes is an invaluable life skill that should be recognised and embraced, not shunned away. I have learnt a lot from failing something, the key here is not to give up! Be bold. Be brave.
“Child Crossroad Kid” by Arek Socha (qimono). Creative Commons licence CC0