3 thoughts on “Reasons Not To Call A Mistake A Failure

  • December 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I can, as an adult with ADHD, understand this trap of “failure” thinking. I’m in college, take my classes online. I can only manage 2 classes at a time. I recently took a class where I had to analyze readings every week, but it seemed like everything I turned in came back with comments like “you should have done more of this,” “wasn’t bad but…”, and each time points taken off for the assignment not being “quite good enough”. By half way through the course, I wasn’t really trying anymore, because it felt like it wasn’t going to make any difference, yet I also didn’t feel right asking the teacher to give me more “positive” feedback. I realize now I should have done this, but I’ve spent much of my life being “not quite good enough”, and you fall into this habit that is hard to break.

    • December 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Yes, academic study is usually about critical feedback and tends to point out the issues with essays rather than telling you what you did right. I’d have to say that about 70% of my essay feedback was this way and I had to develop a thick skin. Even if you realize now that you should have asked for more positive feedback from your tutor, at least now you can see how ‘not feeling good enough’ can lead to you acting in ways that create more ‘not feeling good enough’ situations. It’s very difficult but it is up to us to manage our perceptions of our mistakes and make sure that we put a positive spin on their meaning.

      For instance ‘I messed up that paragraph’ could be changed to ‘in the future I’ll know how to write that paragraph properly’ which turns the negative assessment into an optimistic approach to future attempts.

  • December 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    That premise is so right on but should also include the poorly misunderstood terms of “lazy & nothing”.


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