We all have been in the face of failure and defeat and we never like it. And yes, we have always been told things like “Never give up, never surrender,” or something along those lines. But what makes people successful, innovative, and resilient? How can you recover from failure? I’ll talk about my own experiences, but first lets see how successful people see failure.
For many of us, we don’t like sharing our failures (big surprise I know), and we don’t take credit for it. We would rather not talk about it in front of others, so like it never happened. Okay, so like I said what exactly do successful people see failure as? Surely they try to avoid it as much as possible, right? As it turns out people who are successful tend to share their failures with their friends, family, and the general public. Kathryn Schultz talked about this in her book Being Wrong. She stated:
“Because we don’t experience, remember, track, or retain mistakes as a feature of our inner landscape, wrongness always seems to come at us from left field.”
This is a pretty optimistic way to look at failure, and can tell us that if we keep our successes and our mistakes in mind, then we can be more aware of our surroundings and failure won’t be such a surprise. Failure is also a way to help us keep in mind our faults and what we could have done better. We can look at it in a logical way and try to see what went wrong and how to better ourselves. Besides mistakes aren’t always negative. Think about the creation of penicillin, that was a mistake yet it innovated the medical field. Think about Peter Parker, if he never wondered into that spider lab, he never would have become Spider Man. You get the idea by now, just don’t be afraid of your mistakes.
So what have I learned from recent failures?
A while back my English class started this thing called an Innovation Project. You may have read about this in an earlier blog post, but it is pretty much a project assigned by my teacher to have us build projects on literally anything to fulfill the needs of people in our community. Our project involved creating an online homework club program via Google+. The need was that people in Sports or extracurricular programs after school could not make it to regular homework club. Google+ was a good way to help people because it had Google Hangouts, which helped with multiple people using webcams at once.
Let’s start with the positive, so what went right? To be honest, things were actually looking up around January. I mentioned in a previous blog post that it was pretty difficult for us to get people to join our Google Community on Google+. Well that was pretty much the case, but we actually doubled our community population with 40 people rather than 20 like before. This was a pretty reasonable amount, and some people actually started to ask questions in the group. That was a pretty good first step, and we even started posting math notes daily for a bit.
So what exactly were the problems? To start off, yes people started to ask questions, and yes we did start to add math notes and gain more people. But the thing was no one was really willing to do anything major and we didn’t really have too many hang outs. Google+ wasn’t exactly an ideal platform, since everyone practically has a Facebook, but Google+ isn’t all that popular. Okay, we could work with that, but the big thing that killed us was the fact that our school now offered tutoring in the library for students and offered extra credit. This pretty much rendered our project kinda useless. The tutoring in the library is more flexible homework club, and can be done easier than something online. Now our community would pretty much be just another Facebook group for classes.
What have we learned?
This was actually a pretty interesting process. Before I did this project, I never thought that I was capable to do new, innovative, and wonderful things. Now it defiantly seems possible. Sure, this project was a bit of a flop, but it was a learning process. We originally wanted to start out big, but we learned to stick with realistic goals here. So we just modified it so that it could be a more realistic goal. We just started with people we know, and helped them as much as we could. Although we knew that this project would not turn out to be super huge, we still tired our best and kept on adding more and making our community better and more attractive. It worked, to a certain extent. We also learned how to organize a group of people. The little community we set wasn’t as big as we wanted, but nonetheless it was helpful to do and learn how to organize people and help each other out. Yes, we also learned how to (or at least attempt) to create events with many people as we tried to organize Google Hang Out Times. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed the innovation project. I can defiantly now see how this could be helpful for me (and the others in my group) in the future. We can organize groups, help people out, and even do things like design a Facebook page, and set events (sorta). We learned that even if projects or things don’t go as planned, we can modify things and keep on trying to make things work.