Failure – many of us fear it. Why? Because we don’t just dislike letting ourselves down – we often worry more about letting others down. Failure can induce anxiety, impact self-esteem and make us question things we thought we knew, or were good at.

But good things come from failure, too. In fact, new ways of doing things, fresh perspective and innovation can be born from failure.

Being allowed to fail is important – allowing our children to fail is imperative if we want them to be autonomous, competent and resilient. All behaviours we recognise as being positive in work and in life… so isn’t it better to help embed them earlier?

“Your teenager has a science project due. He hates science. He hates projects (as do you). Do you:

A. Set deadlines for him, get the necessary materials, lay them out on the table with some homemade chocolate chip cookies

B. Ask your neighbor who is a renowned chemist to stop by and wax poetic about the joys of the periodic table

C. Hide and pray

If, out of love or a desire to bolster your child’s self-esteem, you picked A or B, teacher and author Jessica Lahey thinks you’re wrong.

“Do I want [my kids] to be happy now and not-scared and not-anxious, or, a year from now, do I hope that they pushed through being a-little-anxious and a little scared and became a little more competent?” she told Quartz.

We seem to be more worried about raising happy children than competent or autonomous ones.

That question is at the heart of her best-selling book, The Gift of Failure. She realized not long ago that something was wrong with her parenting and something was amiss with the middle-school students she taught. They wilted in the face of challenge. They didn’t love learning like they used to. Parents took bad grades personally. Everyone was unhappy…”

Read on to learn why fearing failure could be holding us back, in Quartz:

To learn more about our Workplace Readiness Programme, helping teenagers gain real-world professional experience and build vital soft skills, visit: 



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