Smarter ways to learn from failure 從失敗中學習的聰明方法

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“失敗乃成功之母”。我們都希望能從失敗中吸取經驗教訓,迎接成功。但為什麼有時很難從錯誤中吸取教訓?本文就此展開討論。

字彙:failure 失敗

Many of us were told from an early age that, be it at school or in life, “you learn from your mistakes”. But is this actually true?

The short answer is ‘yes’ – failure can be a teachable moment. But learning from our mistakes is, in reality, very hard because we don’t like to fail. It doesn’t feel good, so we react to failure in impulsive and emotional ways, like giving up on a task prematurely, telling ourselves we don’t care whether we succeed, or finding fault with the task itself. This is self-protective, according to Hallgeir Sjåstad, a professor of psychology and leadership at the Norwegian School of Economics. “Most of us want to think of ourselves as competent and capable“, he says, so when we fail “it poses a serious threat to our self-image“.

Fortunately, there is research to suggest that there are some strategies to help us overcome the emotional barriers around failure. One of them is to adopt a third-person perspective. Instead of asking “Why did I fail?”, we could ask “Why did Sam fail?”, for example. Multiple studies by psychologist Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan show that adopting a third-person perspective helps to soften our negative emotional reactions, allowing us to look at failure more objectively.

A second strategy involves offering advice to others who may be in the same position as us. This strategy led to better levels of motivation and academic success in the test groups – involving both adults and children – that were asked to give advice based on their own failures. Professors Eskreis-Winkler, Fishbach and Duckworth found that the satisfaction of helping others “forces people to engage with their experience and what they have learned”.

The writer Samuel Beckett once said: “fail again, fail better”. But it now seems that we should be saying: “fail again, fail smarter”. Failure is an inevitable part of life, but by learning to overcome the emotional barriers around it, we may find the road to success is a little easier to navigate.

字彙表

teachable moment 施教時刻,值得學習的時刻
impulsive 衝動的
prematurely 過早地
succeed 成功
find fault with 挑剔,找岔子
self-protective 自我保護的
competent 有能力的
capable 能幹的
pose a threat to 對…造成威脅
self-image 自我形象
strategy 策略
overcome 克服
barrier 障礙
adopt a perspective 採用…觀點
third-person 第三人稱的
soften 緩和
objectively 客觀地
in the same position as 處境相同的
motivation 積極性
satisfaction 滿足感
engage with 直面,參與
inevitable 不可避免的
navigate 駕馭,穿越

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or False? You learn from your mistakes.

2. How does failure pose a threat to our self-image?

3. What kind of barriers do we need to overcome to learn from failure?

4. True or False? A third-person perspective helps us be less emotional about our failures.

5. How can helping others change our perspective on failure?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. Mark is so _______! He never thinks before he acts.

self-protective              impulsive              confident                   capable

2. Please stop criticising me! You’re _______ everything I do today.

finding fault with           barriers                 inevitable                  adopting a perspective

3. Pollution _______ the environment and causes global warming.

poses a threat to          overcomes            navigates                  in the same position as

4. She used to be very shy, but she was eventually able to _______ her shyness and is now very outgoing and sociable.

succeed                       soften                    engage with              overcome

5. My father got a lot of _______ from watching my brother take over the family business.

strategies                     motivation              satisfaction               teachable moments

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or False? You learn from your mistakes.
True. Failure can be a teachable moment.

2. How does failure pose a threat to our self-image?
According to Hallgeir Sjåstad, most of us want to think of ourselves as competent and capable. Our failures directly contradict with this idea of ourselves and therefore pose a threat to our self-image.

3. What kind of barriers do we need to overcome to learn from failure?
We need to overcome the emotional barriers around failure before we can learn from it.

4. True or False? A third-person perspective helps us be less emotional about our failures.
True. Adopting a third-person perspective helps to soften our negative emotional reactions, allowing us to look at failure more objectively.

5. How can helping others change our perspective on failure?
Giving advice based on our own failures forces us to engage with our experience and what we have learned.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. Mark is so impulsive! He never thinks before he acts.

2. Please stop criticising me! You’re finding fault with everything I do today.

3. Pollution poses a threat to the environment and causes global warming.

4. She used to be very shy, but she was eventually able to overcome her shyness and is now very outgoing and sociable.

5. My father got a lot of satisfaction from watching my brother take over the family business.