When is the best time to reflect on your failures? From a learning perspective, “now” is always the best time. Failure is our greatest classroom and whenever it happens, we should cherish the opportunity to learn. In fact, those who see failure as a gift and welcome it as an opportunity get better not only develop more quickly, but also are more likely to enjoy the processes of learning and thus stay more engaged. American psychologist and Stanford University professor, Carol Dweck, wrote about the importance of learning from our failures in her best-selling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In her New York Times best-selling book, Dweck makes the distinction between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset: “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”
What is your mindset? Here is a link to Dweck’s website where you can take the test and find out! Interestingly, we ask all of our students to take the test and not surprisingly they all score in the “growth mindset” range. Even more telling, those students who score the highest in “growth mindset” work the hardest, are the most open to coaching, and are developing the fastest. Importantly, Dweck writes, “no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment,” and that happens the fastest with a growth mindset.
Although anytime you confront failure is the best time to learn from it, the end of the golfing season is a particularly important time to reflect. What didn’t work? What were the obstacles that got in the way? Which of the 5 Elements (Desire, Physical Performance and Nutrition, Coaching, Mental Game, Equipment), did you struggle with the most? Take the time to write down your “failures” and what you could learn from them. What would you do differently next time? What goals would you need to set in order to address your failures? Who would you need to enroll to help you along the way?
The next time you face failure, I encourage you to see it as a gift; an opportunity to challenge yourself to do difficult things; to learn and grow in the development of your best self and having a growth mindset will most definitely help accelerate the process.