Thursday, November 09, 2006

Focusing on Failure

Failure: Success Doesn't Come CheapLast week we had a mid-term in my Old Testament class which I was positive I got 4 questions wrong and possibly as many as 7.  On a 50 question test that's a pretty big deal.  What's interesting is that over the week since that test all I can think about are those questions I know I missed.  I sure will never forget what the Decalogue is (10 commandments).

While I've been focusing on these questions I got wrong (the last third of the Old Testament is called the Writings btw) I've pretty much ignored and forgotten the questions I answered correctly.  Who was Adam again?  He really had a wife named Eve?  Okay, not that badly.

Recognizing this last night in class made me realize that I, and many people, are driven and expected to constantly improve.  It's not enough to do well at something since you can always be doing better.

I've always considered improvement being the recognition and correction of failings.  For example, every time I jump off the roof of our house I fall straight down and hurt myself.  To improve I need to recognize this failing and better learn how to fly (or recognize that I can't fly on my own and should seek mental help - too bad I'm not Peter Petrelli from Heroes).

The problem with focusing on failure is that I tend to let that bring me down.  I see how I may have messed up one section of a project, and really let that envelop me.  I try to do everything I can to fix it immediately and to never let it happen again.  I begin thinking I'm not really so great at this and could even feel like I don't belong.  In reality it was one mistake that most people didn't even notice, and they have been impressed with all of the work I have done.

Here is one place I really struggle to make a balance.  It's easy to let my failings get the better of me.  It's also easy for me to focus on how good I am at some things and let pride take over.

In any case I got the mid-term back with a 48 out of 50.  Also, that two page report I did two weeks ago.  The one I forgot about until the night before and got the books the morning it was due?  30 out of 30!  Thank goodness.  Maybe I can write.


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