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Education, Leadership, Uncategorized

My New Year’s Resolution: Fail Frequently

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise –with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

A new year is nearly upon us, and with 2012 on the horizon, many will undoubtedly participate in the process of developing annual resolutions.  It is a refreshing activity.  An opportunity for a fresh start…a clean slate, so to speak.  New goals and aspirations…a chance for personal improvement. Perhaps this will be the year that I achieve fluency in Spanish, or develop a “go-to” system for personal organization.  Maybe I will stick with a regular exercise routine and succeed at eating healthier.  Or maybe I won’t.

Resolutions are generally about change, and as longevity and success rates of new initiatives exemplify…change is challenging.  Whether altering exercise habits or changing classroom instructional methods, making changes require us to face a significant fear – the potential for failure.  The beauty of New Year’s resolutions is the opportunity to hit the reset button on unsuccessful endeavors…a chance to refocus.  The problem is that we frequently approach resolutions, and change, with an “all or nothing” mentality.  It either works, or more often than not, it doesn’t.  But what if we changed our view of failure?

Change requires that we take chances.  If we make the assumption that the changes we undertake are purposeful and necessary, it is imperative that we accept failure as a natural – even necessary – part of the change process.  Unless we are willing to do so, we risk paralysis of action.  Failure forces reflection, encourages innovation, necessitates creativity and leads to problem solving.

So, back to those resolutions.  When we make a commitment to change, it is imperative that we allow ourselves the opportunity to fail.  Instead of approaching resolutions, with an “all or none” attitude, give yourself a break and allow opportunities to make mistakes and benefit from the learning process that ensues.  Failure does not have to be fatal…in fact, it can be a sign of thinking anew.

My New Year’s resolution is to be unaccepting of the status quo, be reflective of my actions, be willing to change, and take failure in full stride.  It’s part of the learning process.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.  ~ Winston Churchill

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About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “My New Year’s Resolution: Fail Frequently

  1. Great resolution for 2012! Failure is never a bad thing. It is how you accept and learn from it that matters.

    Posted by Ana Deter | December 26, 2011, 8:38 pm
  2. Hey Pal,

    Somewhere this year — probably in The Innovator’s DNA — I was reading about one of the large tech companies (mighta been Google. Mighta been Amazon).

    Their founder encouraged employees to make choices and decisions decisively because making choices and decisions decisively meant they could explore more opportunities than they would have explored had they prioritized deliberation and care.

    Sure, quick decisions lead to more dead ends — failures in your terms. But quick decisions also increases the likelihood of stumbling onto something great.

    It really changed the way that I think about working towards change and embracing failure.

    Rock on,
    Bill

    Posted by Bill Ferriter | December 31, 2011, 6:09 am
  3. I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. 2012, for me, has been an incredibly fulfilling year thus far. It is the only year that I can remember making a New Year resolution and actually sticking to it. My resolution is to lead a “healthier” lifestyle. This for me includes dropping some weight, becoming more organized, and getting back to school to finish my college education. Taking that first step to change is the hardest one. People get so comfortable with being status quo. Making a change can be scary, but once you actually do there is only one direction to go and that is forward to the future. As Albert Einstein says, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

    Here is a link to my blog.

    Posted by Miranda Bounds | March 4, 2012, 10:26 pm

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