Saturday, 16 December 2017

Learning from Failure - Failure the Secret of Success

Posted by Vijaya Bhaskar
Everybody knows how it feels to fail. And nobody really wants to fail himsielf/herself. But according to a new study from Ohio State University, lingering in that state of mind might be the key to avoiding it in the future.
University experimented like this. First, students were tasked with shopping online for a kitchen blender with a certain set of characteristics. If they could find the cheapest blender that had every feature the scientists were asking for, they'd win a cash prize. Before they found out how they did, half of the participants were told to write about their emotional response to their win or loss, while the other half was told to write about their thoughts. But it was all a set-up.

In the final step of the experiment, the students were asked to try one more task. To remind them of the deal-hunting task they had so recently failed, half of the students were tasked with finding the best deal on textbooks (as a control, the other half faced the unrelated task of picking out a book for a friend). Apparently, the sting of an emotional memory had an effect. The subjects who focused on their emotions after their previous failure ended up spending 25 percent more time on average looking for low-priced textbooks than those who only reflected on their thoughts.

What does all this show? According to the researchers, it demonstrates how it's important not just to dwell intellectually on what went wrong, but to return emotionally to the feeling of failure. In other words, all of the participants were given the chance to reflect on their failures, but only those who were forced to really feel their feelings actually demonstrated a renewed commitment to not fail this time.

Dwelling only on their thoughts is more likely to make people rationalize why mistakes weren't their fault, and that probably has something to do with that disparity. But perhaps there's also something to the idea of inoculating yourself against a fear of failure by facing it head-on.

The benefits of failure are well-documented: many scientific discoveries have been made only because an experiment "failed" — that is, didn't produce the expected results. And as psychology researcher Jon Jachimowicz notes in the Huffington Post, failure is a necessary step on the road to self-improvement, and letting a fear of failure stop you will only result in fewer successes.

So next time things don't go exactly the way you planned, try hanging on to that feeling for a while. It could make all the difference next time.

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