In your best attempt to be a mentor, do you see ever failure as simply an unsuccessful attempt at something? Something that you had a lot of hope for, or an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose? If you think about it, all of us experience failures, large and small, to some degree in our lives. Lack of failure merely equates to lack of action. In other words, if we are not experiencing a certain amount of failure, maybe we are not making enough attempts at whatever our goal is. Maybe we are not driving ourselves hard enough. Maybe we should remember what a famous inventor is quoted as saying in his prime. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
In essence, if a person is to ever accomplish anything meaningful in his or her life, it is most often done through overcoming after he or she has failed. Not allowing a fear of failure to keep them from making continuing attempts at success is essential to life itself. Setting goals is not always an easy task. Therefore, we have a tendency to set goals that we know we can achieve easily. Many times, it feels better to get a pat on the back for easily finishing a short-sighted goal than to work toward the goals that will stretch us. However, the difficult, yet attainable objectives are the ones that we will grow from. They are the ones that become the stepping stones for the next achievement. A child who truly needs a mentor needs to learn this more than anyone else.
Many of these children are either taught – through the actions of someone important to them or through personality traits of their own – to give up easily or never even attempt to succeed. Child mentors that put their hearts into their “work” will help children see that the concept that of doing something hard is good and that failure is just another gateway to success. There is so much more learned from our failures than our successes. In fact, the road to most successes is filled with failed attempts. We would do well as Child Mentors to remember that “the opportunity to fail never comes without a high probability of success”.
In 1914 Thomas Edison’s factory in West Orange, New Jersey, was virtually destroyed by fire… The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.
From “Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success”