Building Bravery

The most important part about becoming braver lies in understanding that you are seeking to become brave not to become perfect. Often we think – I’m afraid to try that because I might not succeed – we are often so fearful of failure that we can’t be brave. The key to being brave is understanding that bravery and perfection are not the same.

In Sweden there is a museum of failure. It is great to look at some of the great people and companies that have failed. The museum is there to help everyone to understand that if you want to step out, to try something new, to be innovative you will probably fail at least once.

Epic fails are not usually celebrated at school

That museum celebrates failure but Epic failures are not usually celebrated at school. We learn to be afraid of failure and this is a problem for two reasons.
Firstly it assumes that we are capable of perfection – of always getting it right whether it is our school work, our brilliant idea for a major work or our relationships with others. This isn’t the case and we all know it but we still fear failure.

A girl’s school in Victoria decided to have a wellness week that celebrated failure. Every girl received a failure journal. Every girl had to come up with something, which they couldn’t do and would probably fail if they tried. The teachers talked about the failures in their lives – everything from trying to bake a sponge to failing a uni exam to failing five or six times to get a drivers license. They talked about things they tried and continue to fail at such as cryptic crosswords or chess or swimming five kilometers. Everyone, teachers and students then had to work out what they would strive to achieve, they then worked at it and tolerated their repeated failures. They then considered how they had grown, which was not looking at if they were now successful at that task, but rather in the process of trying and failing what had they learned – how had they grown as a person. They then set future goals at which they would probably fail.

From the three areas of failure they developed the failure spinner:

Strive – I actively try new things even if I might fail; I try my best even when I think I might not succeed; I am not afraid of failure.

Tolerate – I can cope with how it feels when I fail; I understand that imperfection is not the same as failure; I accept that failure is part of life.

Grow – When I fail I reflect and change; When I fail I persevere and try again; I see failure as a chance to learn.

When you accept failure you can forgive yourself and others

This is perhaps the most important lesson that we learn from failure. When we are brave enough to fail we accept that we are not perfect and that is ok. We accept that others aren’t perfect either so when they say or do something that is less than perfect we can forgive them. It’s hard – we accept that we aren’t perfect and that we will fail at various times in many areas of our lives but we can expect others to be perfect at all times when they are working alongside us or part of our friendship group.

Indira Ghandi said, Forgiveness is a virtue of bravery. Do you have that virtue. Without forgiveness you will never be brave.

Be bold, be brave, be you

So as we go out into the final weeks of term I hope that you will be bold enough to build your bravery – that you will be brave enough to try something at which you will probably fail so that you can strive to achieve, tolerate failure and grow – it is the best way to find your self! Enjoy the last week of term.

Mrs Maryanne Davis, Principal


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